Barcelona declares 'we are not afraid' after terror attack

Hayley Dixon
#NoTincPor: Barcelona say they

Spain stood defiant today in the face of two terror attacks that killed 14, with its unbowed people crying out “I am not afraid” at vigils held in Barcelona and across the country.

The blood of the victims was still smeared on the streets in the morning, as people quietly made their way to the busy tourist route to pay their respects at the start of three days of official mourning. 

Huge crowds gathered for a minute’s silence at noon to the city’s Plaça de Catalunya. The square rests at the top of the iconic Las Ramblas promenade, which leads to Barcelona’s waterfront. King Felipe VI, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, and Carles Puigdemont, the president of the Spanish region of Catalonia, were at the Plaza de Catalunya.

Once the minutes silence was over, there were spontaneous chants of “I am not afraid” in Spanish and Catalan and applause. The defiant rebuke to the terrorists was quickly taken up at similar vigils in Madrid and across Spain.

Thousands flooded down Las Ramblas chanting and clapping her quick response of the security services. They chanted "No tenim por!" meaning we are not afraid and at one point began singing John Lennon's Imagine. 

Others shared the hashtag #NoTincPor online in solidarity with those affected by Thursday's attack - which left more than 100 injured.

It was less than 24 hours after  a terrorist drove a van down the Las Ramblas in the heart of the Catalan capital, killing 13. Later in the nearby tourist city of Cambrils, five terrorists were shot dead during a separate attack, which killed one woman.

Angel Toscano, a 44-year-old souvenir stall worker whose kiosk was damaged as people were mown down in front of it, said that he was determined that they would open as usual to "show evil people they will not defeat us.”

He was one of a handful of stall holders on the pedestrianised strip who had returned to business as usual in the face of adversity. 

Ken Morris, 61, and his 51-year-old wife Karen, an art teacher, narrowly escaped with their lives yesterday but felt compelled to return to the scene to lay flowers. 

Mr Morris, a retired art chef from Liverpool, said: “It feels so strange to hear applause and see the defiance of the people here today so soon.

“Yesterday all we could hear at this spot was the screaming and panic and the horrible cracking sounds as the van snaked through the crowds mowing people down and smashing souvenir kiosks.

“Yet hours later the streets are just as packed with people showing they won’t let terror win - it’s amazing.”

The couple had spent six hours locked in a souvenir shop fearing terrorists with guns would follow up the van rampage attack. said: “It’s wonderful to see so many people back on the Ramblas today.

Mrs Morris said: “This is not what the terrorists will want to see - they’d prefer us all to be cowering from them behind locked doors.

“There’s applause here today but it’s hard to believe just a few hours ago there were screams then an awful silence followed by people desperately crying out the names of missing relatives.

“I saw the people being flung into the air by the van and heard the terrible sound of it bumping through the crowds of people and I know we’re lucky to be alive.

“But I’ll remember the courage and the kindness of the people who helped me through this every bit as much as the terrible things I’ve seen."


Terror in Spain: Dozens killed and injured in Barcelona and Cambrils

The chants began as people gathered to remember the victims 

 Thousands gathered in the city's centre 

With many repeating the message over and over 

Many also marched along Las Ramblas chanting the words 

 #NoTincPor also became the top trend in Barcelona 

At a joint press conference later with Mr Rajoy, Carles Puidgemont said the cry of "No tenem por" and "No tengo mierdo" was the “best weapon”.

“We have woken up still battered emotionally because of what happened yesterday but we also woke up determined,” he told reporters.

He praised: “This spontaneous demonstration, this shout of we are not afraid has reconquered our public space which was only a short while ago battered by these assassins.”

Mr Rajoy said: “What makes us most effective is that we are all united.

“These attacks are not only against us, but against all countries that defend freedom and democratic values.”

It was a rare show of unity from Mr Rajoy and Mr Puidgemont, who have been at loggerheads over the question of Catalan independence from Spain. 

The Spanish royal family  issued a statement: “They are assassins, criminals that won’t terrorise us. All of Spain is Barcelona.”

This morning, stallholders, cafes and restaurants opened for business as a show of defiance following the attack.

Two huge "altars" to the victims have sprung up on the promenade. One at the monument at the top of the Ramblas and the other at the Font de Canaletes, which is where Barcelona fans traditionally go to celebrate their victories. The fountain has been buried underneath hundreds of offerings.  

Within hours the single candle at the spot where the van's rampage came to an end had transformed into numerous memorials brimming with flowers, teddy bears and messages of love and solidarity.

Kind-hearted local residents also offered help, support and accommodation to anyone caught up in the atrocity.

A local resident, named Liam, told Sky News that, despite the shocking attacks, he did not expect Barcelona to change its way of life.

He said: "Every day I skate up and down this street from work and everyone's always happy in this city, everyone's always got a smile on their face.

"Yesterday that changed it, but I don't think it's changed it for very long. As you can see, today everyone's back out and about, doing their daily lives.

"I don't think it will make too much of an impact on the people, I think everyone will come back together and kind of be a community about it."

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