Passeig de Gràcia shopkeepers: "Yesterday Barcelona had its Night of Broken Glass"

The sectors affected estimate the material damage at 750,000 euros and demand political responsibility for the riots

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The Nike store in Passeig de Gràcia, the day after the looting.

Barcelona"Yesterday Barcelona had its own Night of Broken Glass. Catalan shopkeepers, hoteliers and businessmen have expressed their condemnation of the looting that took place yesterday in the centre of Barcelona after the fifth night of demonstrations against the imprisonment of the rapper Pablo Hasél. 

Luis Sans, president of the Associació Amics del Passeig de Gràcia (Friends of the Passeig de Gràcia Association), has directly compared the riots with the Night of Broken Glass, during which in 1938 in Nazi Germany there were several episodes of violence against the Jewish population with dozens of deaths. "Barcelona and Paris lead Europe in the capital of urban guerrilla warfare. We cannot accept it with fatalism. We ask the leaders to be forceful and not to be afraid of the legitimate use of force by our police", he said.

The affected sectors estimate that they were victims of "acts of vandalism" towards more than 75 establishments in Passeig de Gràcia, of which 60 were shops. Sans has assured that the protests left a trail of 100 broken windows and more than 300 graffiti in the different premises of this luxury shopping street. He estimated the material damage at 750,000 euros and stressed the impact of the looting on the image of Barcelona as a "peaceful city". "These riots were already expected and the passivity of the politicians did not foresee it", the also owner of the clothing store Santa Eulàlia has regretted.

Entities of the hotel sector, catering and trade have presented a joint manifesto to demand political responsibility for the events of the last five days. "We are forced to call for the responsibility of all those irresponsible people who justify the riots that, in addition to the serious damage caused to public and private property, compromise the future of the citizens of Catalonia", said Josep Sánchez Llibre, president of the employers' association of Catalan big business.

"Enough is enough"

The affected sectors have demanded that the Generalitat and the Barcelona City Council give "support with the maximum forcefulness" to the security forces and have regretted that the Mossos d'Esquadra had to act "without support". "They have not been given all the institutional support so that they can consider doing an efficient and more effective job", criticized Sánchez Llibre. The representative of the businessmen has not asked for resignations of specific positions of the Government, but has urged politicians to "act", "Enough is enough", he reiterated.

The joint manifesto also launches accusations against the "irresponsible" who expose "a thousand and one arguments to justify the exercise of violence" in the burning of containers, the throwing of stones or the looting of shops. Sánchez Llibre has used the same adjective to refer to those who "do not seem to care much that their children are destroying the reputation of Catalonia as a land of investment and progress, and compromising its future". The employers have insisted that the protests will have a negative impact on trade and foreign investment and has demanded "the strict application of the law" for the perpetrators.