Anti-tourism protesters chained themselves to an iconic piece of Barcelona’s architecture on Monday afternoon in an apparent attempt to discourage tourists from visiting.
If you’ve got plans to visit Barcelona this summer, you may want to cancel them. Masked protesters took over Guell Park in the center of Barcelona with pink smoke bombs and anti-tourism banners, and even chained themselves to a statue of a dragon made by Antoni Gaudi, one of Spain’s most famous architects.
The protesters, called “Arran”, stated that they’re against mass tourism in the area, which they say overcrowd their towns and form a nuisance for the local populace. Police were forced to use bolt cutters in order to remove the chained protesters.
Arran also states that the tourism industry exploits cheap labor, only benefits the rich, and spoils their countryside.
The group is known to have connections with the Candidatura d'Unitat Popular party, a national group that fights for Catalonian independence from Spain. They’re on the far-left of the political spectrum, with views that support strict government controls on the tourism industry to the point of seizing assets and redistributing the wealth to the local populace.
Arran vehemently denies that they’re against tourists in general. Their slogan is: "It's not tourism phobia, it's a class struggle."
Last year, Arran went on a riot in the country against anything having to do with tourism. They slashed tires, they threw eggs at passing tour buses, and the poured super glue inside the locks of businesses that relied on the tourist trade. They even stormed hotel reception areas wearing masks and wielding baseball bats, causing extensive damage.
At one point a group of masked protesters stormed an open-top tour bus in Barcelona, slashing tires and painting slogans on the side. The tourists inside thought it was an actual terrorist attack.
So maybe reconsider your Spanish vacation plans for the time being. Or at the very least, stay away from Catalonia.