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Protests in Barcelona over Spanish king visit to inaugurate Mobile World Congress

Demonstrators block traffic in Plaça Espanya as Felipe VI attends tech fair’s inaugural dinner

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24 February 2019 08:13 PM

by

ACN | Barcelona

Hundreds took to the streets in Barcelona late on Sunday to protest against the visit of Spain’s king, Felipe VI, who will inaugurate the Mobile World Congress (MWC), the world's largest trade fair for the mobile industry.

Demonstrators waved Catalan independence flags and burnt pictures of the monarch, an extremely unpopular figure in Catalonia.

While the protest started in front of Catalonia’s National Museum of Art (MNAC), where king Felipe and other authorities attended the MWC’s inaugural dinner, demonstrators eventually moved to Plaça Espanya, where they blocked traffic in one of the city’s most crowded roundabouts.

A highly unpopular figure in Catalonia

Felipe’s most recent visits to Catalonia have sparked protests, with many criticizing him for his TV speech on October 3, 2017, where he took on Catalan officials for holding an independence referendum deemed as illegal but made no mention to police violence against voters.

A recent survey by the Center of Opinion Studies (CEO) found that almost 80% of Catalans disapprove of King Felipe. On a scale of 10, some 60% of those surveyed gave him a 0.

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  • A protester wearing a Catalan independence flag burns a picture of Spain's king, Felipe VI (by Àlex Recolons)

  • A protester wearing a Catalan independence flag burns a picture of Spain's king, Felipe VI (by Àlex Recolons)