‘You’re not welcome!’: Furious anti-tourism protesters spray diners with water guns as tensions rise across Spain

8 July 2024, 14:17

Anti-tourist protesters squirt dining tourists with water pistols in Barcelona

Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

A group of furious anti-tourism protesters targeted diners in Barcelona over the weekend by spraying them with water guns before blocking exits to popular hotels.

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Footage from the scene shows protesters marching down the streets waving placards with the messages 'tourists go home' and 'you are not welcome here'.

Water guns were then fired at people who protesters claimed were tourists visiting the Catalan capital.

Guests were also stopped from leaving their hotels as protesters taped up their exists and started chanting abuse.

Spanish police were forced into action to protect the supposed tourists from being targeted by the angry protesters.

Diners targeted by anti-tourism protesters
Diners targeted by anti-tourism protesters. Picture: Getty
'Tourist go home, you are not welcome'
'Tourist go home, you are not welcome'. Picture: Getty

Thousands of Spaniards took part in the protests in Barcelona over the weekend, where 12 million tourists visited last year. Even more are expected to visit by the end of this year.

Protests have been taking place across Spain this summer as anti-tourism sentiment rises in the European nation, including in the Canary Islands and on the Costa del Sol.

Read More: Barcelona bus route removed from map apps to tackle overcrowding in latest ‘anti-tourist’ move in Spain

Read More: Spain's government proposes early bar and restaurant closures, sparking outrage from proprietors and furious tourists

Protesters have claimed tourists are using up scarce resources, such as water and housing, as well as pushing up the prices of everyday items.

Parts of Spain have been suffering with the worst drought in several decades, leading to water shortages and even usage restrictions in some areas.

Police were forced into action to protect the supposed tourists from being targeted by the angry protesters
Police were forced into action to protect the supposed tourists from being targeted by the angry protesters. Picture: Getty

Earlier this year, 15,000 anti-tourism activists protested in the streets of Majorca, expressing anger over the spike in property prices on the Balearic island over the last decade.

There were chants of “tourists go home” by the activists, who were holding banners with the message “Salvem Mallorca, guiris arruix” which in Catalan Spanish means “let's save Majorca, foreigners out”.

Another banner translated to: “Wherever you look, they're all guiris.”

“Guiri” is a colloquial term used to describe holidaymakers who are renowned for heavy drinking, often in an offensive manner.

One of the primary concerns among protesters is the availability of housing, which they claim is being prioritised for tourists in the form of short-term holiday lets.

The Spanish Government has recently announced it is planning a crackdown on holiday lets, such as AirBnbs.

New plans will require neighbours to approve any move by a property owner to turn their home into a short-term holiday rental.

According to government figures, around 90 per cent of holiday lets in some parts of Spain - including Madrid - are illegal, meaning they do not have the proper licensing.

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