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King Felipe joins protest march in Barcelona

No tinc por – I am not afraid. King Felipe VI of Spain joined hundred of thousands of people as they marched down the Passeig de Gràcia in a show of defiance after last week’s terror attacks that left 15 people dead and over 100 injured. It was the largest protest in the city since 2003 when some two million protested against the Iraq war and the first time a Spanish King has joined a demonstration.

A tweet sent by Barcelona city hall said, “We are an open, welcoming city of peace. Today we take to the streets again with the cry ‘I’m not afraid’.”

The march was led by the King, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, opposition leader Pedro Sánchez, Catalan president Carles Puigdemond, the mayor of Madrid and other senior government officials. Many carried red, white and yellow roses, the colours of the Barcelona coat of arms, which were distributed by florists in the city.

The march ended in Plaça de Catalunya at the top of Las Ramblas where a number of people booed the King and the Prime Minister by Catalan separatists, despite calls to keep politics out of the march. The square was eventually closed off by police as there was simply no more room. After a ceremony, actress Rosa Maria Sardà read a poem by Federíco Lorca and Míriam Hatibi, spokeswoman of the Islamic organisation Ibn Battuta, told the crowd: “We are not afraid because we know that love will triumph over hate.” Two cellists played El Cant dels Ocells (Birdsong), a traditional children’s song as people listened in complete silence.

The Islamic State group has claimed the attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils, which were Spain’s deadliest attacks in more than a decade. Eight suspects are dead, two are still in jail under preliminary charges, while two more remain under investigation.