"They've smashed everything": Street drinking party moves to beaches

Around 30,000 people gathered in the Bogatell area on a night with fewer incidents but with looting of restaurants on the seafront

4 min
The restaurant Xiroi Can Nuri, with broken windows

BarcelonaLike energy, which does not disappear, but is transformed: with the Plaça Espanya in Barcelona armored by the police to prevent a repetition of the street drinking parties of the last two nights, young people who wanted to take advantage of another weekend night to party on the street changed their scenario. Yesterday, calls for different parties were already circulating on the networks: the most crowded was on the Bogatell beach and its surroundings, a space that is already the usual place for this type of gathering in the city, which yesterday was overwhelmed by the size of the gathering and by the destruction of premises.

The street drinking party of the third night was less massive than the second, with about 30,000 attendees and no longer 40,000, according to calculations presented by the City Council this morning, and slightly less conflictive, although the images of robberies, assaults and looting were repeated. The burnt motorbikes and vandalised bus stops returned. The night ended, however, without serious injuries. The Medical Emergency System had to attend to 39 people - only four less than the previous night - 16 of whom had to be taken to hospitals.

There were also "worrying incidents", as the deputy mayor for Security, Albert Batlle, acknowledged in his assessment. Among them, the attacks to the restaurants l'Escamarlà, Xiroi Ca la Nuri and McDonald's and, already during the early hours of the morning, the attempts to vandalise shops in the Vila Olímpica neighbourhood. "They've smashed everything", explained this morning, still in shock, one of the workers at l'Escamarlà, busy cleaning up the damage. The attackers, as well as smashing the awnings, windows and bar, took bottles of alcohol, computers and the small table.

"If today was Monday, we would not open, but being Sunday we will do whatever it takes to stay open", said Ricard Noguera, of Xiroi Ca la Nuri, who estimates the damage at 50,000 euros and says that they have taken all the computer equipment and all the liquor store. The lack of bottles - they took about thirty or forty of all kinds of alcoholic beverages - can be solved by bringing some from other places, but the lack of computers and devices used by the waiters is what most complicates the logistics. "They've taken everything", laments Noguera. This morning they covered the holes in the windows with plastic panels to be able to open and began to think about the plan at night to protect these openings.

"In Vila Olímpica we always find that people come here when the drinking binge is over. This time we have also suffered with broken windows, torn signs and parking meters and physiological needs everywhere. It's horrible", says Jordi Giró, of the Association of Neighbors of the Vila Olímpica. He also lists damage to cars and bar terraces. "Tonight it has been stronger, but the drinking parties here are recurrent", he explains, and warns that the aggressiveness of this last night "has been infinitely greater" but that in any case a "forceful" response is needed against all this incivism.

Groups of thieves

In the beach area the police made 13 arrests, some of which are related to the group of young people dressed in black who staged attacks and robberies on the beach of Bogatell. "They are criminals", said the director of the body of the Mossos, Pere Ferrer, in an interview on Catalunya Ràdio, where he detailed that this group of between 20 or 30 people had the capacity to drag other people to commit crimes. The police have been helped by drones to make identifications. In total, in the different points of drinking parties, which last night were not as concentrated as in the previous nights, there have been 30 arrests.

The graphic chronicle of the street drinking party in Bogatell, by Enric Borràs.

In the beach area, from six o'clock in the morning there were again scenes of violence like the ones that went through the streets of Hostafrancs and Creu Coberta the night before, with groups burning containers and motorcycles -at least 14- and throwing objects against the police in the coastal area. The most serious case was the looting of restaurants.

Change of system

After activating the alerts yesterday on the understanding that the violence that had taken place on Avinguda Maria Cristina was no longer a problem that fell under the jurisdiction of the Guardia Urbana, but an extreme question of public order to which the Mossos had to respond, the deputy mayor for security in the city today welcomed the measures deployed in zone 0 of the street drinking parties of La Mercè, which yesterday, with the metro stations closed and controls everywhere, was cleared of concentrations. The parliamentary group of the PSC and Units per Avançar - Batlle's party - has already requested the appearance of the Catalan Minister of Home Affairs, Joan Ignasi Elena, to give explanations about the disturbances.

Batlle detailed that they had already monitored the call in Bogatell and that there was a preventive device deployed in the area, although it was not very visible in order to avoid tensions. Many of the arrests, in fact, were made by plainclothes officers to avoid major public order problems, according to the Mossos. In total, the three main nights of La Mercè will have been attended by some 85,000 people, but the police do not rule out the possibility that the concentrations and disturbances could also be repeated on the last night.