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Barcelona residents hurl water guns at tourists during mass protest

Barcelona residents hurl water guns at tourists during mass protest

Jet-setters caused a sensation in Spain.

Protesters in Barcelona over the weekend attacked tourists with water pistols to express their outrage over overtourism, CBS News reported Tuesday.

Thousands of people took to the streets of the Spanish city on Saturday, some using water guns to spray diners in the La Barceloneta district. Some people were forced to move tables at different restaurants to avoid protesters. Demonstrators symbolically taped off some establishments.

“I have nothing against tourism, but here in Barcelona we are suffering from an overtourism that has made our city unlivable,” one protester said, according to CBS News.

Last year, more than 12 million people visited Barcelona, ​​the agency reported, citing local data. This year, from January to May, Spain as a whole has seen more than 33 million visitors, up 13.6 percent from the same period last year, according to the national statistics office. Thanks in part to increased tourism, lodging costs have risen 68 percent in Barcelona over the past decade, CBS News reported.

Jaume Collboni, the mayor of Barcelona, ​​said he plans to stop renewing tourist licenses that allow owners to rent out apartments to foreign guests by 2028. Those homes would then become available to locals rather than people looking for accommodation on websites like Airbnb.

“In recent years, the city has turned completely towards tourists, and we want a city for citizens, not a city that serves tourists,” one protester said over the weekend.

Such demonstrations are taking place across Spain, which has recently become a tourist hotspot. Last month, 15,000 people protested overtourism in Malaga, while in May, more than 10,000 people took to the streets in Palma de Mallorca.

And Spain isn’t the only country trying to find ways to curb tourism: Venice, Italy, now charges a fee for day trips, and locals are vocal about how the city has changed because of the increased number of visitors. Meanwhile, Amsterdam is banning new hotels in the city to reduce traffic and improve living conditions.

Given that we are in the peak tourist season, it is unclear whether these policies will prove effective — at least in the short term.