State of Independence V

More protest images from Barcelona as surging nationalism continues to polarise Catalunya and Spain, leading towards ever increasing tension. Shown here are images from street protests against police violence, and a protest calling for dialogue rather than confrontation between the two opposing political factions – one of the few politically neutral responses to the escalating violence and division.

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State of Independence IV

A set of film photographs taken during the day of the independence referendum in Catalunya. The central government’s attempt to shutdown the referendum, which is illegal under Spanish constitutional law, failed after the regional Catalan police essentially refused to cooperate. As a result the Guardia Civil and Policía Nacional were used in a last minute attempt to close polling stations, resulting in hundreds of incidents of violence across the region as police battled with ordinary people. Despite this, only a handful of stations were closed. With a turnout of 42% […]

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State of Independence II

A second set of film images of the independence movement protests, this time taken outside of the Universidad de Barcelona. This event was very carefully orchestrated to try to portray Catalunya as if it was an oppressed nation under the control of a distant dictatorship in Madrid. Carnations were distributed as a deliberate reference to the 1975 Carnation Revolution in Portugal. The protest group also openly arranged to print and distribute ballot papers for the planned illegal referendum, openly challenging the Guardia Civil’s confiscation of ballot materials in the last week. Here […]

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State of Independence I

A short set of film photographs taken at various demonstrations and protest points in Barcelona over the last week. These are the result of a proposed “independence” referendum being pushed through by the regional parliament against the wishes of the central government in Madrid. The result is a political disaster, creating ever deeper and more dangerous divides both internally in Catalunya and externally with Spain. So far the protests have largely been very peaceful, typically involving a few tens of thousands of people from diverse backgrounds. While there has been […]

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Torre Glòries, Catalan Independence and the European Medicines Agency

One of the consequences of the UK’s decision to leave the European Union is that it will no longer maintain several key European agencies that are currently located in London. A bidding process has started where cities throughout Europe campaign to host the relocated agencies, with the last nominations on the 31st July and the final decision taken in November 2017. Barcelona is bidding to host the displaced European Medicines Agency (EMA) in the iconic Torre Glòries – a radical change from its current location in Canary Wharf for the approximately […]

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Encants III – Architecture in Blue

Two short galleries of very different architectural images, taken on a short walk around the area of the Encants market at Glories, Barcelona. The area is undergoing a construction boom at present, with large modern developments for housing of all types, offices, hotels and additional space for schools and universities. Much of this architecture makes a complete break with Barcelona’s historical building styles, adopting a very modern glass-and-steel approach.

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Encants II – El Mercado Ilegal

A gallery of images of the illegal street market at the Plaça de les Glòries Catalanes, Barcelona. The market sells a mix of collected rubbish and most likely stolen items, and at its peak can have as many as 30 to 50 traders present. It forms part of a criminal system that spans from minor crimes such as petty theft through to more serious concerns such as drug dealing, prostitution and criminal theft, damage and usurpación that has badly affected local residents such as ourselves. The traders here represent very much the bottom of this […]

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#VolemAcollir: Massive Protests in Support of Refugees in Catalunya

A set of images from #VolemAcollir – an immense protest organised in Barcelona in support of refugees. The main slogan “Prou excuses. Acollim ara” can be translated as “Enough excuses. We welcome now”. This reflects concern that the central Spanish government is not fulfilling its commitments to settling refugees, and also a recent call for Catalunya to provide even more direct support. After enduring months of watching the US and the UK slide into a mire of hard-rightwing xenophobia it is incredibly uplifting to see people here in Catalunya marching in support of […]

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Barcelona: Tourist Go Home

A set of photographs from the Ocupació de les Rambles, Barcelona. This was a citizens protest march which combined a diverse range of groups and issues that affect the lives of ordinary people living in Barcelona today. There were several key issues being protested: the unsustainable level of tourism and its effect on local residents, the cost of property and rents, and forced evictions of people with mortgage arrears. All of these are combining to destroy the quality of life of people living in the city, and indications are that […]

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Protest II

Setting up candles for a display in Plaça de la Universitat, Barcelona. This was a rather strange event which mixed elements of Catalan Independence (Assemblea Nacional de Catalunya) with campaigns for human rights and support for refugees. Barcelona is seemingly unique in Europe at the moment, in that it is one of the few parts of Europe where support for immigrants remains high, despite the clear problems of integration that are evident in places such as the Raval.

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Protest I

Protest against male violence, being staged by feminists from the Movimento Democrático de Mujeres (Democratic Woman’s Movement), Plaça de Sant Jaume, Barcelona. This is a topic which is far more complex and difficult to cover completely in a single short image. This year alone in Spain there have already been two brutal murders of women by their current/former partner. And I am writing this as the year is scarcely one week old. It is impossible to put in words how utterly appalling this is. Yet such extremes only help mask other forms […]

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Barcelona: Manteros, Tourists and Luxury Yachts

There are few more poignant symbols of the problems in Barcelona than photographs taken around the newly redeveloped harbour area between Port Vell and Barceloneta. Here, tourists newly disembarked from cruise ships or disgorged from the flood of incoming flights to El Prat walk past rows and rows of “manteros” – illegal immigrants selling fake designer sunglasses, handbags, shoes, hats and numerous other dubious goods. In the background is an exclusive private marina where multi-millionaires dock their luxury yachts. The blankets (mantas) are usually linked to ropes attached at each corner, so […]

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