The protests started in the morning near the university plaza subway station with as many as 20,000 students participating, according to a television news reporter for local station TVE interviewed in front of the Fira. He said there was some violence in the morning after some people in the crowd set a car on fire.
Students later walked to the Fira and sat in the traffic circle, blocking a main city street. The Mobile World Congress is the world's largest gathering of cellular operators and vendors, attracting about 60,000 attendees.
Students sat in the traffic circle about two hours. In response police set up road blocks, closed the front entrance of the Fira and the nearby subway station.
Many of the protesters left the site about 5:30 pm local time to protest in front of a local court building. One protester said about 20 students had been arrested as part of the otherwise peaceful protest in front of the Fira. There were no immediate reports of injuries.
Separately, a small group of educators held a separate protest on a side street with grade-school students (bottom).
The scene outside the Fira at about 5 pm local time as several hundred students stage a peaceful protest sitting in the traffic circle outside the exhibit center.
Grade-school children participated in a separate protest on a side street in the early evening.
Not sure I agree Haldor, we had occupy movement events at many US and Canadian cities. Will that prevent holding conferences in those cities? I doubt it, in fact if you use that logic most cities in the world will be eliminated...Kris
The message they are really getting accross is that Spain is a bad place to hold an international conference. I am sure conference organizers have already decided they will not schedule any future conferences like this in Spain for the foreseeable future.
Spain is going to pay a real financial price in future years because of this demonstration. This protest can only hurt the local economy that is paying for their education. Seems counter productive to me.
Running a risk of being another ditto head(!), I agree with the two dissenters above! The scale and importance of MWC can not be over-stated and in these days of ubiquitous mobile computing, these students are using effective methods to get their message across.
In technology and other businesses, the boundaries (and their related policies albeit national level) between national and international issues are blurring. I would sincerely hope what these students did gets seriously noticed and accounted for in policy decisions.
Ironic that the global mobile industry that made "flash mobs" possible may have provided the wherewithal to stage what was clearly a peaceful gathering to protest economic inequality. Technology does not exist in a vacuum.
Yeah, I agree. Very politically astute of the kids in Barcelona. I know there was a talk about the mass transit in Barcelona was considering about going on a strike before the show. MWC is the biggest event for those who live in Barcelona. It's the biggest leverage they can use!
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