In yesterday's Bulletin (paper version), there was an article about anti-tourist incidents in Barcelona. One of these, an attack on a sightseeing bus, involved hooded individuals storming the bus. Tourists thought it was a terrorist attack. It was in fact an anti-tourist protest by Arran, the radical youth organisation that is linked to the extreme left party, Candidatura d'Unitat Popular (CUP).
A further incident in Barcelona has seen the tyres on bikes for hire to tourists being slashed. The town hall, which had seemed to be indifferent to the incidents, now says that it will take action, equating these examples of "tourismphobia" to xenophobia and saying that the "democratic city" of Barcelona will show zero tolerance. The Catalonian government is also vowing to take action.
Arran, which was behind protests in Palma last week when banners against "massification" were unfurled, was also responsible for an incident in the city on 22 July. This has only become widely known about since Arran posted a video on social networks on Tuesday. There was an attack on a restaurant - Mar de Nudos - on the Moll Vell. Confetti was showered over clients and their food. Flares were let off and banners contained messages such as "Tourism kills Majorca". Boats were also affected.
The restaurant manager, Carmen Sánchez, says that this took place around half eight in the evening. Around twenty protesters entered the restaurant. The police arrived, but the protesters left before they could be identified. Sánchez adds that she is all for freedom of expression, but they were attacking a restaurant that isn't to blame for anything. "They told us that tourism damages the island, but the majority of people live from it."
Arran says that it plans other protests aimed at "paralysing the mass tourism which is destroying Majorca and condemning the working class of the Catalan Lands to misery". The full title of the organisation is Arran Països Catalans, an allusion to the concept of independent Catalan-speaking parts of Spain, something that the CUP advocates.
The director general of tourism, Pilar Carbonell, expressed the Balearic government's rejection of the Arran protest. "In no way is it legitimate to put people and property at risk." The best way to gain improved distribution of the wealth generated by tourism and respect the environment is to achieve "social and economic balance", which is what the Balearic government is aiming to do.
Josep Lluís Bauzá, speaking on behalf of Ciudadanos at Palma town hall, condemned the attack and demanded that the mayor, Antoni Noguera, takes immediate action. Bauzá stressed the importance of sending a message of explicit condemnation and of not allowing space for intolerance, violation of the law and images that are not shared by the vast majority of society.
The Partido Popular in Palma also condemned the attack, while Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy described the various attacks, supported by the CUP, as colossal stupidity. "Everyone knows that the CUP is an organisation of extremists and radicals. They are of the extreme left with manifestos from centuries ago."
Maria Salom, the national government's delegate in the Balearics, called for there to be a defence of tourism, the islands' principal economic activity, and added that the National Police are investigating and will prosecute.
Meanwhile, left-wing parties and politicians as well as groups which have expressed opposition to tourist "saturation" were surprisingly quiet yesterday.
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