More than 850,000 FC Barcelona fans crowded the streets of the city yesterday to welcome home the European champions following their success against Manchester United at Wembley on Saturday evening, as they toured the streets in an open-top bus (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). Following the procession, the action moved on to the Camp Nou where more than 100,000 supporters were able to share in the triumph of the football team, which has now won four Champions League cups. Only eight of the players actually addressed the crowd at the stadium, which ended with the traditional music and firework display. Perhaps due to tiredness, or their eagerness to get to the Shakira concert taking place later last night at the Olympic Stadium (the singer is the partner of Barça player Gerard Piqué), but the players seemed less eloquent than at the recent event to celebrate the team's victory in this year's Spanish league. However, in his speech, Piqué made reference to ongoing criticisms aimed at the club: "We don't take drugs, we don't dive and we don't buy the referees. We just play football," he said, finishing with a plug for his girlfriend's concert, "I expect to see you all now at the Olympic Stadium for the Shakira concert," which drew laughter from the other players and applause from spectators.
The high-speed AVE train service between Barcelona and Madrid has been temporarily halted due to the partial derailment of an Avant train at the entrance to the Calatayud station in the region of Zaragoza (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). No one was injured in the incident, according to sources from train operators Renfe and Adif, which took place at 7.15 this morning as the train was pulling in to the station; the slow speed at which it was travelling helped avoid anyone being hurt. According to Adif, the accident happened when the axis of one of the wagons came completely off the rails. Some 3,000 rail passengers have been affected by the incident with no fast trains operating between Madrid and Barcelona as a result. Eight AVE trains had left Barcelona and four from Madrid at the time the accident took place, said Renfe, which has put in place an alternative transportation system for those affected. Some are travelling by normal train to their destination while others are going by coach.
The protests in Plaça Catalunya are due to last at least until next Tuesday (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). In a decision announced late last night, following an assembly in which hundreds of people took part, the so-called 'indigant ones' (indignados) decided to continue their camp-out until the coming week. The protestors have said they want to put in place a proper structure for their movement with the intention of decentralising it and transferring it to the city's neighbourhoods. As such, they need more time to decide how to proceed with their work.