Love Is Destroying Rome's Infrastructure: This Week in Bans

The freshest news in what's been outlawed across the world.

Welcome back to our weekly look at what's been outlawed in cities across the world (past editions here):

LOVE LOCKS, IN ITALY

(Kyle van Horn on Flickr)

Really, Italy? You've romanticized something that mischievous highschoolers have been doing on school fences for ages? Appears so: Despite having banned the practice in 2007, Roman authorities are still struggling to stop love-struck couples from attaching padlocks to the city's architecture and throwing away the key. The annoying behavior owes its popularity to Federico Moccia's 2006 book, “I Want You,” a piece of teen lit that described how fawning lovebirds fix a lock onto the Milvian Bridge as a sign of eternal fidelity. For municipal workers, though, it's a sign to grab the boltcutters, because the collective weight of thousands of iron locks is not healthy for a stone structure from 115 BC. In fact, the city had to put in iron barriers to prevent property damage after a lamppost collapsed in 2007 under the weight of so many "love locks." A work crew recently went to the bridge to prune the lock kudzu away – however, they're facing an uphill battle. Useless padlocks are appearing on other random things throughout Rome, and now the blight has spread to Moscow, Paris, Dublin and across the ocean to Brooklyn. There's even a company that's basically marketing urban blight with these $25 heart-shaped locks.

ERRTHANG, IN BRITAIN

As my colleague Nate Berg wrote yesterday, the British “Manifesto Club” has released a map of London showing where it's illegal to perform certain otherwise normal activities, like walking a dog or handing out leaflets without a license. Surprise, surprise: The Manifestites are a libertarian group. But they're not bad reporters, either. After filing a Freedom of Information request with the government, the club was able to add up a whopping 435 of these "exclusion zones." On a numbers basis alone, the most frequently banned behavior is taking a mutt into a restricted area; the 2006 Dog Control Orders make this a finable offense for health and public-safety reasons. Drinking in public is by far the most widely banned act, geographically speaking, while "no protesting" areas seem confined to the area right around Westminster. (Full map.) Manifesto's director, Josie Appleton, is urging people to campaign against these no-go-zones, telling the London Evening Standard: "In the long run, we need a serious debate about whether we want these controls spreading across our public spaces."

DRUNKEN VOTING, IN KENYA

(Christian Senger on Flickr)

Politicians in this east African country are mulling a potential ban on selling liquor as far as 48 hours prior to the general election scheduled for March 4, 2013. If the National Assembly passes the Alcoholic Drinks Amendment of 2012, a bartender who serves a customer a drink before voting day could wind up spending nine months in jail. Assembly member John Mututho, who's behind the bill, told All Africa that he wants to ensure voters aren't casting ballots while under the influence, and he's not just talking about chemical influence. According to the news outlet, Mututho has "argued that some candidates buy supporters of their opponents beer during the elections so that they sleep and are unable to cast votes."

About the Author