A Madrid court has rejected new lockdown laws imposed on the capital by the Spanish government, leaving millions of residents wondering whether they are clear to travel for a national holiday this weekend.
The court said that the restrictions, which banned residents from leaving the capital and nine suburbs last Friday, interfered with “citizens’ fundamental rights without the legal mandate.”
Spain’s left-wing national government and Madrid’s centre-right regional administration have been at loggerheads over pandemic response, and the lockdown measures are the latest political battleground.
Madrid had already introduced less stringent restrictions in and around the capital to try to contain a surging outbreak of the virus. But Spain’s health minister Salvador Illa called those measures “insufficient.”
In its ruling, the court’s sided with Isabel Diaz Ayuso, Madrid’s regional government president, who said the lockdown measures introduced by the health ministry would “ravage the region’s economy.”
Following the cancelation of the government’s order, Madrid’s nearly 5 million residents now find themselves free of restrictions ahead of a bank holiday weekend. But many are confused about whether they are allowed to leave the capital for coastal towns and second homes.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez called for a cabinet meeting on Friday to discuss the possibility of a state of emergency for Madrid, a spokeswoman for the government told CNN. Sanchez gave Díaz Ayuso an ultimatum on Thursday to agree to some of the measures imposed by the government.