Anti-tourist activists in Barcelona squirt water guns at visitors to solve city's self-imposed problems

In a city famed for its Gaudí masterpieces, Barcelona locals have crafted their own surrealist spectacle. Armed with water pistols and righteous indignation, locals are dousing tourists in a misguided attempt to wash away the city's self-inflicted problems.

As reported on CNN, on Saturday, July 6, 2024, approximately 2,800 demonstrators transformed the city's bustling streets into an impromptu water park, complete with chants of "tourists go home" and complimentary showers for anyone sporting a telltale fanny pack or selfie stick.

This wet and wild protest, orchestrated by over 100 local organizations under the banner of the Assemblea de Barris pel Decreixement Turístic (Catalan for "Neighborhood Assembly for Tourism Degrowth."), aimed to highlight the evils of tourism. Ironically, these same protesters seem oblivious to the fact that their city's economy took in a refreshing €12.75 billion from nearly 26 million overnight visitors in 2023.

The demonstrators — who have likely traveled as tourists themselves at some point in their lives — have proposed 13 measures to reduce tourism, including shuttering cruise ship terminals and regulating tourist accommodations. What's conveniently overlooked in this assault on tourists is that Barcelona's issues with massive debt, housing affordability, strained public services, and social inequality have deep-rooted local causes. Years of inadequate urban planning, restrictive zoning laws, a failure to invest in infrastructure, and a reckless spending spree on a never-ending sportsball stadium renewal with a runaway budget, have contributed far more to these problems than any number of selfie-snapping visitors ever could.

But why address complex internal issues when it's so much easier to spray water at confused tourists? After all, nothing solves urban problems quite like a good old-fashioned witch hunt against the very people pumping billions into your economy.

Barcelona to ban AirBnBs and other short-term rentals