Barcelona defiant in the face of terrorism


As local residents and holidaymakers strive to carry on as normal, extra measures have been put in place at tourist hotspots across Spain.

Tight security at the Sagrada Familia basilica before the mass
Image:Tight security at the Sagrada Familia basilica before the mass

In Barcelona at the Sagrada Familia, the iconic unfinished Gaudi basilica, sightseers were adamant they would continue as normal.

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Local reports suggest the site may have been an initial target for the terrorists after reconnaissance photographs of the church were discovered by police.

Marie MacGregor, from Perth in Scotland, said she had missed last Thursdays attack by 15 minutes after deciding against having a coffee on Las Ramblas.

“I had a funny feeling that something might happen there,” she said, “and it was quite frightening to think it actually did and thinking about the possibility it could have been us.”

Cameras in a museum film the Barcelona attack van speeding past

Video:Speeding Barcelona terror van caught on camera

“Everybody has gathered together and because everybody is from so many different countries it is like a big, big family.

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“We just carry on because everything carries on… you just get on with it, you have to.”

Those who attended a special service of remembrance at the basilica, attended by Spain’s king and queen, also showed the same steely determination.

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Godlove Amungwa from Cameroon is a student in the city. He refused to be cowed.

Godlove Amungwa, a Cameroonian student, said 'we are not afraid'
Image:Godlove Amungwa, a Cameroonian student in Barcelona, said ‘we are not afraid’

“It is very important to show our closeness. To come all over and unite to show that we are one and we are not afraid. Whatever takes place we are even more strong and united than ever.”

Oreste, from Argentina, said it was important everyone carried on, whilst paying their respects in public.

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“I vote for peace. This attack that took place here was against mankind. So all of us have suffered that attack, all of mankind, and that is why this is one of the acts that someone of good will can do, and must do.”

The tourists continued to stream in and out of the landmark church patiently waiting in queues to have their bags scanned and checked.

It was the same story a few miles away at Las Ramblas, where the van attack took place.

Julian Cadman

Video:Family of Barcelona victim Julian Cadman pay tribute

A quiet acceptance of the extra police patrols and poignant memorials popping up sporadically along the 1,200 metre avenue.

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And at the Nou Camp, Barcelona’s football stadium where the team kicked off its first match of La Liga, fans streamed in past concrete barriers.

One local fan said: “I am very sad about what happened but I don’t think it’s dangerous to come here however with all the security and the police.

“To show respect to the victims and to show the terrorists that we are not going to be scared.”

Armed police on the streets of Barcelona

Video:Spain: Security boosted as manhunt continues

A couple of Algerian visitors simply said the words “peace and love” before walking into the stadium smiling.

American tourist Nick Fields said: “It’s absolutely important to be here, we aren’t going to let anyone intimidate us… you can’t be afraid of it you just have to go and live your life.”

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Inside, players joined together on the pitch on Sunday night with their names erased from their shirts and replaced by a simple message: “We are Barcelona”.

A minute’s silence was held as a mark of respect for the 14 terror victims who lost their lives in the city and in Cambrils.

As fans streamed out after the match, normality appeared to be the order of the day for a city saturated with grief, and a determination rarely seen.

The whole world is now witness to the Barcelonian spirit, and it’s fearless.


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