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Barcelona ‘pickpocket busters’ rescue tourist

Around twenty passengers on Barcelona's underground helped a tourist who had just been pickpocketed on Tuesday by restraining the thieves and handing them in to Catalan police.

Barcelona 'pickpocket busters' rescue tourist
There are an estimated 150 thieves who operate on Barcelona's metro every day. Photo: Joan GKK/Flickr

Barcelona Metro passengers were alerted by Eliana Guerrero, a native Colombian who has made it her mission to warn the city against the dangers of pickpockets.

When Guerrero spotted how a French tourist had been pickpocketed and hurt by four thieves as they tried to get away, she blew her whistle to alert bystanders of the incident.

Around 20 passengers waiting on the platform realized what was happening and formed a human barricade to stop the thieves from escaping.

“It's the first time I've seen something like that, it was very exciting,” Guerrero told Spanish daily 20minutos.

Police and security guards were quick on the scene and arrested the felons.

“They're regulars in Barcelona’s underground,” police sources told 20minutos.

“Between the four of them they have 501 felonies to their name.”

Guerrero is one many residents in Catalonia’s capital who have grown tired of the city’s pickpocketing problem in recent years and decided to take matters into their own hands by becoming cazacarteristas, or pickpocket busters.

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ENVIRONMENT

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.

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