At least 160,000 protestors have marched in Barcelona to demand that Spain’s conservative-led government increase its efforts to take in refugees. The government had officially pledged in 2015 to accept over 17,000 refugees from war-torn countries like Syria, but thus far has only accepted just 1,100.
Protestors marched through Barcelona towards the Mediterranean coast, while holding signs saying “Enough Excuses! Take Them In Now!” and “No more Deaths, Open the Borders!”
Protest Organiser Ruben Wagensberg said the community wants to hold the government to their word, “There is ample consensus in Catalonia to demand that the (government’s) commitments are upheld,” he told The Independent.
Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau joined the march, and criticised the federal government’s stance, “It is very important that in a Europe of uncertainty where xenophobia is on the rise for Barcelona to be a capital of hope,” she said.
Spain’s position on refugees is in contrast to that of Germany, who took in 890,000 asylum-seekers in 2015 and another 280,000 in 2016. Nearly 60 per cent of the applications were granted either full refugee status or a lesser form of protection.