The British are well-known for invading other countries and causing unimaginable chaos, but their new target is somewhat unusual: the beaches of Barcelona.
Spanish nationals have been irritated by the drunken, rowdy behavior of British tourists on their beaches, and activists have started fighting back. Recently, hundreds of activists protested tourists on one of the city’s main beaches, just steps from tourists sleeping off their long nights of drinking.
The Arran anarchist group has been responsible for smaller, more targetted protests, including a vandalism attack on a sightseeing bus and a confetti-wielding demonstration in a popular tourist restaurant. The group has urged other residents to join them in their demonstrations, and has started putting up graffiti and stickers with slogans like, “Tourism kills the city” and “Tourists go home.”
This anger isn’t entirely new. While most cities benefit from their tourist industries, Barcelonians consider tourists their second-greatest problem.
And it’s not just the boorish behavior at the beaches that’s bothering them, either.
Local businesses are being crowded out of their buildings by skyrocketing rents, tourism-related gentrification has made popular parts of the city uninhabitable for locals, and young people employed in the tourist industry face long hours and meager paychecks.
Many are beginning to think that the money tourism brings in isn’t worth its costs.
Authorities are growing concerned with the anti-tourist sentiments, worried that the residents’ growing anger might turn violent. Because of this, the police presence on resorts has doubled over the summer, with almost three thousand officers currently on patrol.
To mollify the infuriated residents, the authorities have also started cracking down on punishments for typical tourist offenses like public nudity and sexual activity. They are also considering restricting alcohol sales.
With the summer winding to a close, the officials will have to decide what to do about the tourist hordes next year
Britain’s recent vote to split from the European Union was met with worldwide concern. But for these irritated Spanish locals, the split can’t happen soon enough.