The Catalonia independence crisis is disrupting cruise and air travel into Barcelona.
Last Sunday a controversial referendum on Catalonia’s independence from Spain erupted into violence when a police crackdown on the voting injured 844 people, according to the Catalan government. The move prompted widespread condemnation of the police’s tactics to stop the vote, which the Catalan authorities had called despite it being ruled illegal by the courts.
Since then, two ships from German cruise brand Mein Schiff have rerouted planned calls in Barcelona, according to Express.co.uk. Mein Schiff 3 cancelled a call scheduled for Sunday, the day of the vote, and Mein Schiff 5 cancelled a call planned for Tuesday. Both ships rerouted to Valencia.
The Independent reports that there has been no further violence since Sunday, but a general strike Wednesday shut down public transport through 5 p.m., and also caused airlines to issue change waivers.
American Airlines is allowing customers flying through October 13 to rebook through October 16 between the same city pair in the same cabin. Air Canada will allow customers scheduled to fly through October 13 to change their flight date through December 2, subject to availability in the originally purchased cabin. Guests can also travel to an alternate destination, but any fare difference will apply.
Turisme de Barcelona, the city’s official tourism bureau, reports that activity in the city continues as normal following the violence.
“Turisme de Barcelona wholeheartedly condemns the scenes of violence that took place in Barcelona and other parts of Catalonia on the occasion of the referendum,” the organization wrote. “The acts that affected the civic spirit on the day of the election are unacceptable in a democratic and advanced society in the European Union.”
The European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, said that the controversy is “an internal matter for Spain.”
“We also reiterate the legal position held by this Commission as well as by its predecessors,” the Commission said. “If a referendum were to be organized in line with the Spanish Constitution it would mean that the territory leaving would find itself outside of the European Union.”
According to CNN, Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy defended the crackdown, calling the vote a “serious situation of institutional disobedience in this community.” The King of Spain, Felipe VI, criticized the referendum’s organizers, saying, “With their decisions, they have systematically undermined the rules.”
In an interview with the BBC, President of Catalonia Carles Puigdemont said his government would declare independence from Spain, with the Catalan government acting “at the end of this week or the beginning of the next.”
Since Sunday the State Department has not issued any travel warnings for Spain, and it has not issued any other safety or security updates regarding the country.