Official slams Barça for boozy bus tour

A Catalan public health official has condemned FC Barcelona players for the "cheap spectacle" of their public drinking during a celebratory bus parade through the city.

Official slams Barça for boozy bus tour
Killjoy or conscience? An health official has condemned Barça players for drinking alcohol in public. Photo: AFP/JOSEP LAGO

The vice-president of drug dependence for Catalonia's Public Health Authority, Joan Colom, has urged the banning of alcohol from public acts of celebration, according to Catalan daily La Vanguardia.

In an interview with local radio station RAC1, Colom said that the sight of Barcelona players drinking in an open-topped bus as they toured the city to celebrate the team's 22nd La Liga trophy had turned the occasion into a "cheap spectacle".

He commented that a change of image should be encouraged and added that he had taken the initiative on a number of previous occasions to write to the club to complain.

Colom claimed to understand that footballers are "young men who are under a lot of pressure throughout the season" but regretted that the celebratory bus parade had become "a private party taking place in public."

He went on to praise the Catalan club for its usual "sensitivity in prohibiting alcohol, tobacco and drugs" and highlighted the fact that drinking alcohol and smoking are not allowed inside the Nou Camp stadium but felt that this positive image was "clearly undermined by the parade."

Colom added: "I think they should think again," because such celebrations "help no-one" and "set a bad example, even to other sports people."

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Why has the expansion of Barcelona airport prompted mass protests?

Around 10,000 people demonstrated against the expansion of the El Prat airport in Barcelona on Sunday.

Why has the expansion of Barcelona airport prompted mass protests?
People march during a demonstration against the expansion of the Barcelona-El Prat airport. Photo: Pau BARRENA / AFP

Several ecological and agricultural organisations, have demanded that the expansion be stopped due to the fact nearby wetlands and farms would have to be destroyed.

The demonstration took place on Calle Tarragona in the Catalan capital between Plaça d’Espanya and Plaça dels Països Catalans.

The protests still took place, even though last week, Spain suspended the €1.7 billion airport expansion project, citing differences with the Catalan government, after president Pere Aragonès said he wanted to avoid destroying La Ricarda lagoon, a natural reserve next to the airport. 

Environmentalists decided not to call off the march, in case plans for the airport expansion still went ahead.

READ ALSO: Six things you need to know about Barcelona airport’s €1.7 billion planned expansion

Political representatives from ERC, En Comú Podem and the CUP also attended, as well as the leader of Más País, Íñigo Errejón; the Deputy Mayor for Ecology of the Barcelona City Council, Janet Sanz, and the Mayor of El Prat de Llobregat, Lluís Mijoler.

People from neighbourhoods across the city marched towards Calle Tarragona and could be seen holding placards that read Nature yes, airport no and shouting slogans such as “More courgettes and fewer planes” and “Fighting for the climate, health, and life”. 

One of the largest groups of people were those from El Prat de Llobregat, the municipality which is home to the airport, who were led by tractors. 

People march during a demonstration against the expansion of Barcelona-El Prat airport. Photo by Pau BARRENA / AFP

In addition to protesting against the expansion of the El Prat airport, people were also demonstrating against the Winter Olympic Games in the Pyrenees and extensions to airports in Mallorca and Madrid. 

A representative of Zeroport, Sara Mingorría said “We are here to defend not only La Ricarda, but the entire Delta”. 

The philosopher Marina Garcés also argued that the expansion of the airport would mean “more borders, more mass tourism, more control and more precarious jobs.” 

The leader of the commons in the Catalan parliament, Jéssica Albiach, who also attended the protest, asked the PSOE for “coherence”: “You cannot be passing a law against climate change and, at the same time, defend the interests of Aena [the airport operations company]”, she said. 

She also urged the leader of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès, to “definitely say no. 

If the airport expansion in Barcelona goes ahead, environmentalists say that CO2 emissions would rise by a minimum of 33 percent. These levels would surpass the limits set by the Catalan government’s climate targets.