Barcelona in a Frenzy: Protests and Police Clashes Over Park Güell Fashion Show

Last Updated: June 8, 2024By

Barcelona in a Frenzy: Protests and Police Clashes Over Park Güell Fashion Show

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Trouble in Barcelona: Park Güell’s Fashion Show Sparks Outrage

Things are heating up in Barcelona as Catalan police face backlash for using batons on people protesting the closure of Park Güell for a fancy Louis Vuitton fashion show. The city’s residents are getting more and more upset, feeling like tourists and big events are taking over their local life.

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Neighbors Speak Out

The local residents association wasn’t happy at all. They said that before the event, the whole area was blocked off. “The neighborhood has been packed with police and private security for days,” complained a resident, Aidà Almirall Serra. She added that armed police were asking for ID cards and even searching parents’ bags when they picked up their kids from nursery. Sounds like a lot, right?

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That night, people from all over Barcelona came together to protest. Almirall Serra said the police reacted way too harshly. Protesters held signs that said things like “your luxury is our misery” and “the neighborhood isn’t your catwalk.” Seven officers were injured, but luckily, no protesters were hurt.

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Glitz and Glamour Amidst the Chaos

The Louis Vuitton show, named Cruise 2025, wasn’t just any event. It was tied to the America’s Cup sailing competition happening in the city this summer. Big names like Pharrell Williams, Sophie Turner, Ana de Armas, and former Barcelona football coach Xavi Hernández were there. Even Bernard Arnault, the CEO of LVMH and the richest man in the world according to Forbes, made an appearance.

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A City Divided

This show, along with the America’s Cup, is part of the new city government’s plan to attract wealthier tourists and make Barcelona a luxury hotspot. Next month, they’re planning a parade of Formula One cars down Passeig de Gràcia, the city’s swanky shopping street, before the Spanish Grand Prix. And next year, Barcelona will host the Financial Times’ Business of Luxury summit.

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Residents Push Back

Almirall Serra isn’t buying the idea that these events will bring “quality tourism.” The problem, he says, isn’t who’s coming, but how many are coming. “Even tourists complain there are too many tourists,” he pointed out. He thinks the city is bending over backwards to host these events without informing locals or following its own rules. Park Güell, designed by the famous Antoni Gaudí, is only supposed to be used for non-profit scientific or educational events. During the setup for the fashion show, part of the park’s famous staircase got damaged.

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Over-Tourism Woes

Park Güell is already one of the most crowded spots in Barcelona. Just last month, the local authorities removed a bus route to the area from Google and Apple maps after residents complained they couldn’t get home because the buses were always full of tourists.

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The Bigger Picture

This whole situation highlights the tension between preserving local life and attracting tourism. While these high-profile events bring money and attention to Barcelona, they also disrupt daily life and damage local landmarks. The city is at a crossroads, trying to balance the glitz and glamour with the needs of its residents.

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