Hundreds of thousands of people in Spain have taken part in a rally calling on the government to take in more refugees from war-ravaged nations.
Protesters took to the streets of Barcelona on Saturday, holding banners and signs reading “Enough Excuses! Take Them In Now!” and “No More Deaths, Open The Borders!” as they marched from the city’s center towards the Mediterranean coast.
According to police, some 160,000 people took part in the peaceful march, while its organizers say over 300,000 people participated in the gathering.
“There is an ample consensus in Catalonia to demand that the (government’s) commitments are upheld,” said one of the organizers.
In 2015, the Spanish government vowed to take in 17,337 refugees over a period of two years from camps in Italy, Greece, Turkey, and Libya. On Thursday, it accepted 65 refugees from Syria and one from Iraq, bringing the total number of accepted people to 1,100.”It is very important that in a Europe of uncertainty where xenophobia is on the rise for Barcelona to be a capital of hope,” said Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau, who was also present at the march.
The protest was organized by a group calling themselves Casa Nostra Casa Vostra (Our home is your home), and ended on the coast in a move to symbolize the death of over 5,000 refugees who died trying to cross the sea last year.