Anti-independence protest sees Spanish flags fly on Catalan beach

Anti-independence protest sees Spanish flags fly on Catalan beach
A protest called by Ctizens of Spain Action and Resistance Group (GARCE) took place on a beach in Arenys de Mar. Photo: GARCE
A group angry at Catalonia’s independence movement set up parasols and beach towels in the colours of the Spanish national flag in the resort of Arenys de Mar at the weekend.

A group of around 15 people from anti-independence campaign groups set up parasols and laid out beach towels on the sand in Arenys de Mar, just outside Barcelona early on Sunday.

The group said they were moved to do so as a counter protest against the yellow ribbons that have appeared all over the region as a symbol of support for Catalonia’s “political prisoners”.

The group, who arrived about 8am and stayed for arount 3.5 hours, went swimming the sea, emerging from the water with shouts of “Viva España!”.

The group pose with Spanish flag on the beach in Arenys de Mar. Photo: GARCE

Explaining the protest, Daniel Iglesias, the spokesman of the Ctizens of Spain Action and Resistance Group (GARCE) said: “We are not afraid. Catalonia IS Spain. The beaches are for everyone. Better Spanish parasols than yellow crosses.”

yellow ribbons shaped as crosses on the beach during a protest in support for jailed separatist leaders called by local Republic Defence Committees (CDR) at Mataro's beach in May. Photo: AFP

He was referring to the appearance of yellow crosses on beaches in Catalonia to protest against the detention behind bars of Catalan politicians charged with sedition and treason over their roles in the illegal referendum of October 1st.

Yellow ribbons protest the detention of Catalan politicians and a “Free poliical prisoner poster” hangs alongside the Estelada independence flag in La Garriga. Photo: Fiona Govan/The Local

Towns across Catalonia have been strewn with yellow symbols; ribbons tied to railings, bunting at village fiestas, and yellow crosses in fields, parks and beaches. Banners calling for the release of jailed politicians hang from balconies across the region.

The war of symbols has on occasion sparked angry scenes. Violent clashes broke out in Canet de Mar in May, when a group of hooded people, reportedly members of a far-right group, stormed a beach to tear down a “cemetery” of yellow crosses. Three were injured. 

One twitter commentator noted that the Spanish flags on Sunday brought no such conflict.

“No one has insulted them. Nobody has tried to pull them down. That is the difference.”


READ MORE: Tensions rise on Catalan streets and beaches as divisions over secession deepen