Is Spain safe for tourists?

Spain has been in a political crisis since the start of the month, when Catalonian voters went to the polls to vote on whether the region should gain independence.

The vote was condemned by the Spanish government as illegal, which prompted widespread clashes between protesters and police.

Nearly 900 people were injured as police clashed with protesters and seized ballot boxes in a bid to stop last Sunday’s referendum going ahead.

About 90 per cent of the 2.3 million who voted backed independence.

The violent protests have been continuing throughout the country since the vote, peaking in Barcelona on Monday when local groups gathered to protest against independence.

Though Barcelona is the cosmopolitan capital of Catalonia, many people who live in the Spanish city do not want to break away from the country of Spain.

Violence also broke out in the port city of Valencia on Monday as far-Right thugs attacked pro-independence supporters amid fears the region could be next to want to split from Spain.

The protests have prompted Britain’s Foreign Office (FCO) to issue a travel warning for holidaymakers.

In its travel advice update the FCO said: “Demonstrations have taken place in Barcelona and other areas of the Catalonia region and may continue for some days.

“They may occur with little or no warning and even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can escalate and turn confrontational.

“You should exercise caution if you’re in the vicinity. Demonstrations may also cause some disruption and delays to transport services.

“There have been calls for strike action which may also affect local services over the immediate period.”

The Barcelona City Council has admitted the current Catalonia political crisis is negatively affecting tourism in what is usually one of the most popular cities in Spain for tourists.

Agustí Colom, the councillor of the area, explained: “There have been no cancellations, but reservations for the coming months have fallen or they don’t have the same levels seen in previous years.”

Carles Puigdemont said the suspension would be in place for a few weeks so the region could secure talks with the Spanish government.

Spain’s prime minister Mariano Rajoy has vowed to block any move towards independence.

It’s likely protests will continue as crisis talks between the two parties prevail.

This post was originally published in express.co.uk By Claudia Cuskelly

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