Squirt Guns and ‘Go Home’ Signs: Barcelona Residents Take Aim at Tourists

By The New York Times (World News) | Created at 2024-07-10 12:05:14 | Updated at 2024-07-21 20:02:02 1 week ago


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Locals confronted visitors to the Catalan capital in a whimsical (but very serious) demonstration against mass tourism and housing shortages.

A protester held a sign while a customer seated at a restaurant table looked at them through a large window
A tourist watching as demonstrators protested against mass tourism in Barcelona on Saturday.Credit...Bruna Casas/Reuters

By Amelia Nierenberg and Rachel Chaundler

Amelia Nierenberg reported from London and Rachel Chaundler from Zaragoza, Spain.

July 10, 2024, 8:00 a.m. ET

For the last few months, tourists in certain areas of Spain have found fewer welcome mats and more hostility. Anti-tourism graffiti loops across buildings, and tens of thousands of people have protested this year against unsustainable mass tourism.

Over the weekend in Barcelona, locals’ anger over housing shortages, overcrowding and the cost of living was tangible — and wet.

Residents of the Catalan capital took to the streets on Saturday with water guns, squirting them at diners eating al fresco.

About 2,800 people demonstrated, the police said, a figure that some organizers said was an undercount. Some carried signs with messages like “tourists go home” and “you are not welcome,” and doused families at restaurants.

“Spraying someone with water is not violent,” said Daniel Pardo Rivacoba, who helped lead and organize the protest.

“It’s probably not nice,” he added, “but what the population is suffering every day is more violent.”

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