Around 20 youths affiliated with a radical left-wing group that supports Catalan independence burst into a restaurant in Palma de Mallorca on July 22 to protest what they view as the destructive effects of mass tourism on the Balearic island.
The members of Arran Països Catalans – a group that operates throughout the parts of Spain where Catalan and its variants are spoken, including the Balearic Islands and the Valencia region – set off firecrackers and threw confetti at the diners inside the restaurant, which is located in the pier across from the cathedral.
This group has now posted a video it made of the incident. In it, activists can be seen carrying signs that read “Tourism is killing Mallorca” and “This is class warfare.” At one point, an activist is seen climbing aboard a yacht moored at the Moll Vell pier.
The incident took place at around 8.30pm on the outdoor patio of a restaurant called Mar de Nudos. There were around 70 diners there at the time.
“We had to change their plates and glasses. We had to face up to them and tell them to leave, noting that this was a private area,” says Carmen Sánchez, the restaurant manager, recalling that the activists refused to leave. “It was five to 10 minutes before the local police and port officers showed up. The youths started running as soon as they spotted them.”
“They’re attacking the best kind of tourism in Mallorca, the kind that spends money,” laments Sánchez. “The tourists who come here are not like the ones who go to Magaluf. Maybe they should go protest there against mass tourism, the all-included packages and the low-cost prices.”
Activists carried signs reading “Tourism is killing Mallorca” and “This is class warfare”
On its Twitter account, Arran claims that its actions aim to “curb the mass tourism that is destroying Mallorca and condemning the working classes of the Països Catalans to miserable living conditions.”
It also criticizes “the precarious jobs and saturated roads” created by tourism, which is a top industry in Spain.
The regional head of the tourism department, Pilar Carbonell, said these kinds of acts are “under no circumstances legitimate” and that the best way to defend people working in the tourism sector is “to make progress on a system of redistribution of the profits made from this activity.”
The same youth group was behind a recent attack on a Barcelona city tour bus, which it covered in graffiti last week. At least seven hotels in Barcelona have recently been vandalized by left-wing groups claiming to be fighting what they say is excessive tourism in the region.
English version by Susana Urra.