King Felipe leads Barcelona march

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NEWS Staff Reporter KING Felipe, ac­com­pa­nied by prime min­is­ter Mar­i­ano Ra­joy and the Cata­lan leader Car­les Puigde­mont led an es­ti­mated half a mil­lion peo­ple in a demon­stra­tion against ter­ror­ism held in Barcelona on Satur­day. The event fol­lowed the at­tacks in the city’s Las Ram­blas and in the re­sort of Cam­brils two weeks ago which have left 16 peo­ple dead and more than 120 in­jured.

It was the first time that a Span­ish head of state has par­tic­i­pated in such an event and the King was joined by thou­sands of Mus­lims and rep­re­sen- tatives from ev­ery re­gional and pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment in the coun­try. Re­peated cries of “No tinc por” (“I'm not afraid,” in the Cata­lan lan­guage) were heard through­out the event.

How­ever, some Cata­lan sep­a­ratist fac­tions in the crowd jeered the King and PM Ra­joy dur­ing the event.

As the peace march made its way down Paseo de Grà­cia, a par­al­lel demon­stra­tion was be­ing held in Cam­brils, where two peo­ple were killed in the Au­gust 17 ter­ror at­tacks and five ter­ror­ists were shot dead by a sin­gle po­lice of­fi­cer. A third gath­er­ing was held in the Girona town of Ripoll where most of the ter­ror­ists had lived since child­hood.

The week­end demon­stra­tions came as se­cu­rity was tight­ened in many towns and cities across Spain. Some have in­stalled con­crete bol­lards and planters to im­pede the pas­sage of ve­hi­cles through pedes­tri­anised ar­eas while ar­eas where crowds gather are be­ing sub­jected to in­creased sur­veil­lance.

Barcelona is also count­ing the cost of the at­tacks on tourism.

Ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Statistics In­sti­tute, for­eign tourists spent €8,178 mil­lion in Cataluña in the first half of this year, more than one and a half times the rev­enue de­rived from the car in­dus­try. How­ever, re­tail­ers say cus­tomer num­bers have re­mained low since the at­tacks with fewer tourists mak­ing daytrips to the city from coastal re­sorts.

Photo: AFP

King Felipe (C-front), PM Ra­joy (L-front) and Cataln leader Car­les Puigde­mont (Rfront) at the march

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