CIEE Security Alert - Barcelona (UPDATE)

Tue, 10/22/2019

On Monday, 14 October, nine Catalan leaders, charged with sedition following the failed 2017 Catalan independence referendum, were sentenced by the Spanish Supreme Court in Madrid, prompting immediate and widespread protests in Barcelona and across the region.

The protests are likely to continue in the short-term, amid anger over the length and severity of the sentences, and the government action has seemed to galvanize the previously fragmented Catalan independence movement. There are also likely to be increased calls for a second Catalan referendum if momentum is achieved in the short term.

No major violent incidents have been reported since last Saturday, 19 October, when demonstrators and security forces clashed. Demonstrations will most likely continue today, and they have been largely peaceful in recent days. However, further clashes between protesters and security forces are certainly possible. There is a possible protest taking place today, 22 October, at 1900hrs local time in Pla├ža Espanya.

According to local media and social media outlets, a large demonstration has also been planned to take place at Carrer de la Marina by Port Vell marina in Barcelona on Saturday, 26 October. The Assemblea Nacional Catalana (ANC) and Omnium Cultural organizations announced, on social media outlets, that participants will gather at Carrer de la Marina to demonstrate from 1700hrs local time (1500 UTC).

CIEE Barcelona staff have continually reminded our students to avoid the vicinity of all protests and political gatherings in order to minimize the risk of exposure to incidental violence, opportunistic crime, and heavy-handed security force responses. CIEE Barcelona staff have also been continually informing our students of planned protest locations/times and updated safety guidance as warranted. 

These protests have not had substantial impact on the students’ academic program, at this point. Barcelona academic staff are working with Academic Affairs to monitor for any disruption of CIEE and host institution-delivered courses, and CIEE will notify home school advisors and emergency contacts should the situation change, and course cancellation become a persistent occurrence.

CIEE will continue to monitor the situation closely and remain in contact with our participants to ensure their ongoing safety.  CIEE has reminded all participants to stay in contact with their families.  If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-800-40-STUDY.