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A Judge in Buenos Aires Briefly Banned All of the City's Nightclubs from Opening

The ban came as part of the crackdowns following the deaths at Time Warp Argentina.
Photo via El Izquierda Diario

As we reported earlier this week, the deaths at Time Warp Argentina have led to arrests, citations, and a ban on all electronic music festivals in Buenos Aires. A city judge then briefly took that ban a step further, ordering all BA nightclubs to shut their doors. That order has been overturned.

According to the BBC, Judge Roberto Gallardo first issued the order, citing "a landscape of impunity and lack of state control with respect to nocturnal activities," and requesting that, before allowing clubs to reopen, the city government of Buenos Aires put in place policies that would allow police to curtail public drug use.

Gallardo mandated that a timetable for a plan of action "for the short-, medium- and long term" be put in place. "Until this order was carried out," he said, "all dancing to recorded or live music would be banned."

The order was immediately contested by the nightclub owners association's Chamber of Dance Venues as unconstitutional. "How do you obey a totally unconstitutional order like this one?" Jorge Becco, head of the association told local television. "It's like shutting the vegetable store because you found food poisoning at the butcher shop."

Allying himself with the organization, the head of the Buenos Aires government, Horacio Rodriguez Larretta, also challenged Gallardo's decision: "There are thousands of people who enjoy themselves in a healthy way every night and we are going to defend them," said Larretta. "We are concerned with addiction, but this doesn't mean we literally have to close down the whole of the city's nightlife, so we are asking the judiciary to revoke the ban so we can lift this suspension today."

The protest fell on the ears of a sympathetic judge, Lisandro Fastman. Instead of revoking the order by Gallado, Fastman nullified its effectiveness by reinforcing the ban as specific to electronic music festivals, and allowing for a five-day grace period for the ongoing investigation to hand in its report, upon which a proper assessment of the situation could take place.