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Safety first for Three Kings as world’s oldest Magi parade will go ahead in Spain

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THE world’s oldest Three Kings parade is going ahead in Alcoy in Alicante Province on January 5, but with capacity limits and restrictions.

The Magi will be banned from giving away sweets and food as well as kissing members of the public.

Their ‘page’ assistants will also have to be 18 years or older and be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The first record of the ‘Cabalgata’ parade dates back to 1866 and is classified as a ‘Tourist National Interest Festival’ and an ‘Intangible Asset of Cultural Interest’.

It is believed to be the longest-running documented Three Kings celebration in the world.

Traditional events leading up to the evening of January 5 will be held with restrictions.

Pastoretes Day on January 2 normally sees dozens of children and adults dress as shepherds and parade through the streets of Alcoy heading to the Placa d’España to worship the infant Jesus.

That celebration has been restricted to just registered groups, who like the pages, have to be fully vaccinated.

The impending arrival of the Magi is officially announced by the Royal Envoy on January 4 to herald the news throughout Alcoy.

The event known as ‘Bando’ features a major donkey parade, which Alcoy council says will have more animals but no members of the public.

Alcoy’s Fiestas councillor, Carolina Ortiz, said: “It is important to emphasize that it is not a normal year, but we are in a pandemic and everybody must make sacrifices.”

Ortiz called for ‘common sense and understanding from the public’.

“The boys and girls need the Parade as Christmas is for them and we will take all the necessary measures to be able to have the best and safest Parade,” added Ortiz.

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Alcoy

Alicante boy uses female social media profiles in sex blackmail plot in Spain

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AN Alicante area teenage boy has been arrested by the Policia Nacional over online sextortion.

The boy, 17, from Alcoy used eight bogus social media profiles to pretend he was a female.

At least five victims were blackmailed over intimate material, with the possibility that others suffered at his hands.

The teenage boy was aged 16 when he befriended an 18-year-old woman and swapped sexually explicit photos with her for several days.

He used images of a girl that he previously knew.

Once he got the woman’s trust over a few days, he persuaded her to send him a nude photograph.

She then discovered her online friend was a boy but he responded by blackmailing her to perform obscene acts in front of an online camera for six hours.

If she refused, he threatened to distribute her naked image to friends on his contact list.

The deception took a bizarre twist when during her online ordeal she got a message from a girl whose online identity had been ‘stolen’ by her teenage abuser.

The messenger said that she knew the boy and would mediate to stop the blackmail.

It was pure manipulation as it was simply the teenager using the bogus profile to keep the live camera show going.

The victim reported the events to the Policia Nacional who uncovered eight social media identities, all female, that the teen used in at least five extortions.

A court ordered the seizure of his passport until his trial is held.

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Alcoy

Sweatshop owner is arrested in Alicante area of Spain for paying low wages and threatening Moroccan workers

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AN Alicante area business owner has been accused of paying workers just €150 a week and forcing them to eat and sleep in his premises.

The Policia Nacional have arrested a Moroccan man, 43, in Alcoy for breaking workers’ rights and human trafficking.

He kept the passports of his fellow countrymen and women who he employed in his sweatshop.

He threatened reprisals against them in Morocco if they were forced to return home on the back of making a police complaint.

An employee nevertheless did go to the police to report the activities at his Alcoy warehouse which recycled clothing.

The victim said he was forced to work long hours every single day of the week.

He had to sleep on a mattress inside the building as well as having to eat food supplied by another worker.

The man was ordered not to speak to anybody about the warehouse and to tell the owner about unusual vehicles outside that could be the police or labour inspectors.

The Policia Nacional swooped on the premises and freed a Moroccan man and woman, in addition to arresting the business owner.

It’s another major breakthrough over worker exploitation in Alicante Province.

As reported by the Olive Press in October, the Policia Nacional arrested a 44-year-old Moroccan in Cocentaina for illegally employing 15 people, also in a clothes recycling factory.

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