Anti-tourism activists vandalise rental cars in Spain's Majorca
Madrid (AFP) –
Spanish police on Tuesday were investigating vandalism targeting rental cars on the holiday island of Majorca by a far-left group which regularly stages summer protests against mass tourism.
Arran, a far-left youth group, posted a video on social media showing two masked activists smashing windshields of rental cars with a hammer at night in Palma, the capital of the island, as well as spray painting the vehicles and puncturing their tires.
The group, which in recent years has carried out similar protests in the Balearic Islands as well as Barcelona and Valencia, argues rental vehicles are polluting and a symbol of the "saturation" of the island with visitors.
Police opened an investigation after receiving a complaint from a car rental company, a spokesman for the Balearic Islands police told AFP.
Only one complaint has been filed so far but police are "investigating to see if there are any other people affected," the spokesman added.
In the video posted by Arran at least two cars are shown to be damaged. The group campaigns for the independence of the "Catalan Countries" encompassing several Catalan-speaking regions of Spain and France, including the Balearic Islands.
Majorca is the largest of the Mediterranean Balearic Islands, which received just under 14 million visitors last year, mainly from Germany and Britain.
Spain, the second most visited country in the world after France, has seen a rise of anti-visitor sentiment in tourism hotspots such as Palma and Barcelona.
Critics complain that mass tourism strains infrastructure such as roads, public transit and water supply and drives up the cost of housing and pollutes the environment.
In July Arran put up a large sign in a building in the centre of Barcelona that read: "Tourism kills the city".
In 2017 masked members for the group forced a sightseeing bus in Barcelona to stop and then slashed its tires.
Tourism accounts for over 10 percent of Spain's economic output -- and up to 45 percent in the case of the Balearic Islands.
"Thank you very much to the tourists who use rental cars to visit the paradise we live in, and revitalise our economy" the former conservative head of the regional government of the Balearics, Ramon Bauza, wrote on Twitter in reaction to the Arran video.
© 2019 AFP