Protestors Spray Tourists with Water Guns During Demonstration Against Overtourism in Barcelona

Footage of the demonstrations shows protesters chanting “Tourists go home!” and carrying signs bearing the same message

Barcelona locals took aim at tourists, squirting them with water guns as they protested overtourism in the region this past weekend.

Video footage shows marchers chanting “Tourists go home!” and carrying signs bearing the same message.

Daniel Pardo Rivacoba, one of the demonstrations organizers, told the Washington Post up to 20,000 people from 170 organizations participated, adding that the choice to use water guns was made by individual protesters.

“Receiving water on your face is not nice, but it’s not violent,” he said.

According to Spanish news outlet El País, the municipal police force put participant estimates at only 2,800 people.

<p>Javier Mostacero Carrera/Getty</p> Barcelona residents protest mass tourism

Javier Mostacero Carrera/Getty

Barcelona residents protest mass tourism

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The protesters, who were organized by the Assemblea de Barris pel Decreixement Turístic, or the Neighborhood Assembly for Tourism Degrowth, laid out their concerns in a manifesto published Saturday.

The demands of the organizers, who were frustrated with housing shortages and the cost of living, included restricting tourist accommodations and ending the use of public money for tourism advertising.

“The tourism and hotels is the group that really makes big money, but all the people are in a very poor situation and they don’t have enough money to live. That’s the problem,” protester Joan Navarro-Bertran told NBC News.

<p>Getty</p> Barcelona city skyline


Barcelona city skyline

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Barcelona Mayor Jaume Collboni announced Saturday that he would return 10,000 residential units currently used by tourists to housing for local residents and increase the tourist tax surcharge.

Rosario Sánchez, a high-ranking Spanish tourism official, told the New York Times that the residents were “not saying ‘no to tourism,’” but rather seeking changes to quality of life.

“Spain is one of the safest tourist destinations that exist,” she claimed in an email. “Specific incidents with tourists are reprehensible uncivil behavior that has nothing to do with the reality of our country.”

As home to major tourist attractions like the Basílica de la Sagrada Familia and Antoni Gaudi's Park Guell, Barcelona has long been a popular travel destination for international visitors. According to the Catalan capital’s official tourism website, nearly 26 million people visited the region in 2023.

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