Massive demonstration in Barcelona in support of migrants and refugees
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The organisers of a huge demonstration in Barcelona on Saturday 18 February have said it was the largest protest seen in Europe so far in support of migrants and refugees and estimated that half a million people attended. The police put the number of attendees far lower, at 160,000, but in either case it was the largest protest seen in the city since those against the Iraq war in 2003.
The main slogans of the demonstration were "we want to welcome" and "enough excuses - provide refuge now", and there was significant emphasis on the need for the Spanish and other EU governments to comply, at a minimum, with the commitments made in September 2015 under the refugee relocation and resettlement schemes.
The Spanish government has now reportedly relocated 1,100 refugees from Italy and Greece, although according to the Commission's last official reports on 8 February the country had taken in just 600 from Greece (of 750 places pledged and a legal commitment of 6,647) and 144 from Italy (of 150 places pledged and a legal commitment of 2,676).
The protest was organised by the organisation Casa Nostra Casa Vostra (Our House Your House), which was started by a group of people who had volunteered in refugee camps in Greece and realised "we had to denounce what we had seen and that we had to do something to change the situation of refugees and migrants."
Almost 74,000 people have so far signed a manifesto published by Casa Nostra Casa Vostra addressed to the institutions of Catalonia's regional government.
Barcelona Holds Huge Protest In Support Of Refugees (The Huffington Post, link)
Protesters in Barcelona urge Spain to take in more refugees (The Guardian, link)
"Queremos acoger" reclama un frente común en defensa de las personas migrantes (Público, link)
La prensa internacional hace eco de la manifestación de Barcelona por los refugiados (La Vanguardia, link)
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