24 May, 2024 @ 12:00
2 mins read

Violence erupts over Louis Vuitton fashion show in Spain: Protesters clash with police after iconic Barcelona park is forced to close

One person was arrested and seven police officers were injured in the skirmishes

VIOLENCE broke out between protestors and police outside one of Barcelona’s most iconic tourist attractions on Thursday as locals rallied against the disruption caused by a Louis Vuitton fashion show.

Park Guell, the famous mosaic-filled public park designed by Barcelona’s master architect Antoni Gaudi, was the site chosen for the luxury French brand to parade their new 2025 range, with celebrities including Emma Stone, Sophie Turner, and Ana de Armas amongst those attending.

The show was also attended by Bernard Arnault, owner of Louis Vuitton and the world’s richest man with a net worth of a staggering €190 million.

READ MORE: Oh la la! Iconic French fashion designer Jean-Paul Gautier is bringing stage show of his life to Barcelona

Violence broke out between protestors and Barcelona police on Thursday. Credit: Jordi Boixareu/ZUMA Press Wire

The event is one of many linked to the 2024 America’s Cup, the premier sailing competition which Barcelona is hosting this summer and for which Louis Vuitton is the main sponsor. 

However, the parade has sparked discontent among locals and activists who united to voice their anger against the ‘privatisation of public space’ and the disruption caused by hosting the event.

Videos showed protestors being beaten back by dozens of baton-wielding Mossos d’Esquadra officers clad in riot gear as the demonstration attempted to access the park to disrupt the catwalk. 

One person was arrested and seven officers were reportedly injured during the skirmishes.

Locals were also angered after reports emerged that one of the stone stairs inside the park, which receives approximately nine million visitors per year and has been a World Heritage Site since 1984, was damaged during construction for the fashion show. 

‘Louis Vuitton go home’, a banner sprawled on a nearby building. Credit: Jordi Boixareu/ZUMA Press Wire/Cordon press

One neighbourhood council, which used its social media platform to blast the hosting of the parade, tweeted: “We want to report that in less than 24 hours of construction for the Louis Vuitton fashion show, a part of the stairs has been damaged”. 

The demonstrations against the show ran under the slogan: “Our neighbourhoods are not a catwalk for their parade”. During the march, protesters chanted that ‘Barcelona is not for sale’ and ‘Louis Vuitton tortures and murders’.

One person was arrested and seven officers from the Mossos d’Esquadra were injured, not seriously, in the disorder. Credit: Jordi Boixareu/ZUMA Press Wire/Cordon Press

Neighbourhood Association President Cesca Sancho told the media: “For years, the council has forgotten about Park Guell and we, the neighbours, have taken care of it. Now they come here and they invade. Other times there have been events and parties in the park, but not like this, this way we neighbours are made to look like terrorists”.

Park Guell, designed by Antoni Gaudi, is one of Barcelona’s most famous and popular tourist attractions

Elsewhere, demonstrators organised an improvised satirical catwalk in the bohemian district of Gracia. 

Ben Pawlowski

Ben joined the Olive Press in January 2024 after a four-month stint teaching English in Paraguay. He loves the adrenaline rush of a breaking news story and the tireless work required to uncover an eye-opening exclusive. He is currently based in Barcelona from where he covers the city, the wider Catalunya region, and the north of Spain. Send tips to [email protected]

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