The pungent smell of burning plastic hit us when we were approaching Gran Via from Arc de Triomf. Fire trucks and policemen on standby, guarding every diamond of Barcelona’s grid. We were famished and in anticipation of some really nice Tappas with seafood, but were instead met with garbage bins ablaze, melting the plastic hull in shapes reminiscent of the iron fences on Gaudí’s La Pedrera.
The sirens are still reverberating through the narrow side streets of Passeig de Gràcia, centre of Barcelona where our guest house is located. Where the nights before we have been truly indulging in the Spanish cuisine and soaking up the quality of life in Barcelona, today, the very same streets were filled with protesting pyromaniacs using garbage bins as beacons as if to pass a message from Columbus up to Parc Güell.
March 29, 2012 marks the day of the General Strike. Admittedly, I have not been up-to-date with the Catalan news and I have no real idea what a “General Strike” is. All I know is that almost everyone is taking a day off, tourists need to cook their own food, graffiti and litter everywhere and the first metro to resume service at 5pm is being squeezed to Chinese levels.
As the ignorant tourist today, it really comes across like a lame excuse for causing mayhem. Whatever their issue with the government, destroying public property is not really effectively getting your message across. Fair enough, you got your shocking publicity. But I think you’d be ashamed with the stupidity that these pictures show.
Whatever there was to convey — though I’m no expert on communication technologies — I think that beacons are both inefficient and unsustainable. You guys might want to look into more green solutions.