King of Spain met with boos in Barcelona

Hundreds of people gathered in centre of city to protest arrival of Felipe VI ahead of the Mobile World Congress

Pro-independence supporters in Barcelona centre (by ACN)
Pro-independence supporters in Barcelona centre (by ACN) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

February 25, 2018 08:45 PM

The king of Spain has arrived in Barcelona met by hundreds of pro-independence supporters booing him, and the Catalan police cordoning off the Palau de la Musica, the concert hall where a welcome dinner for the Mobile World Congress was taking place on Sunday evening.

Tensions arose between the police and protesters, with reports of police charges taking place. The Catalan police explained that they intended to act with the “minimum indispensable force.”

There have also been moments of friction between pro-independence supporters and unionists, with verbal clashes taking place when both groups met.

Pro-independence supporters shouted chants such as “out with the Bourbon (monarchy)”, “freedom for political prisoners,” and “the streets will always be ours.” Many brought pans, whistles and yellow-coloured items (a sign of solidarity with jailed Catalan leaders.)

Earlier in the day hundreds of unionist supporters gathered to welcome the Spanish at Plaça Espanya, not far from where the technology event will be held. People waved Spanish flags, and shouts of “long live the king,” and “long live Spain” could be heard, as well as renditions of the Spanish national anthem. 

In Plaça Catalunya, in the centre of Barcelona, around 500 or so people also gathered to welcome the king, in an act organized by the associations Platform for Tabarnia, and Barcelona is not Catalonia.

A frosty reception

The mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, and the Parliament speaker, Roger Torrent, alongside other Catalan officials did not attend the official welcoming reception of the monarch. Ada Colau, however, took part in the inaugurating dinner of the MWC, as well as Torrent.

Colau said that the reception for the king was “improper for a democracy of the 21st century,” in the context of his response to the Spanish police violence that took place in Catalonia on October 1 last year. Felipe VI “endorsed the repressive line instead of trying to appease the conflict and bring serenity,” Colau stated.

The leader of the main opposition in the parliament, Inés Arrimadas of Ciutadans, said that neither Colau nor Torrent “understood their role, as they have to represent everybody.”

The Spanish monarch made no call for dialogue

After police violence on October 1, the Spanish monarch made no call for dialogue between the Catalan and the Spanish executive. He only said he was determined to ensure “harmony among Spaniards,” but didn’t mention the police violence and the approximately 900 people injured while trying to vote in the referendum.