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