According to figures just released by the Spanish National Statistics Institute, Catalunya is the autonomous community where the largest number of new immigrants settle down, with a quarter choosing this region to live (article in Catalan, Avui). Last year, just over 80,000 new foreigners registered at their local town hall (empadronat), while in total the community grew by 103,345 people, significantly more than either Madrid 88,603) or Andalucia (83,472). Overall, Catalunya accounts for 16 percent of the Spanish population, a slight increase on the 15.44 percent it represented in 1999.
A report in today's La Vanguardia tells the sad story of three FC Barcelona fans who travelled to Rome by car last week to see their team play in the Champions League final, but instead of seeing the match ended up behind bars because of walking sticks they had on them (article in Castilian). The poles, typical of those used by walkers in rough terrain with metal tips on the bottom to aid balance, were found by police during a routine security check in a town some 70 kilometres from Rome. Accused of carrying "armas blancas", cold steel weapons, the three, a father, his son and cousin of the son, were taken to the local police station where they stayed for the next 48 hours. They had no television to watch the game and only knew that Barça had won because of the cheers of the Italian inmates, who seemingly were all supporting the Catalan team.
Many people trying to get to work by bus today were affected by a demonstration by workers from the Iveco company which blocked the exit of a Transports Metropolitan de Barcelona base in the Zona Franca area of the city, where 100 buses were located (article in Castilian, El Periodico). The 200 workers, who are facing a temporary closure of their workplace, were demanding that the public transport vehicles continue to be manufactured in Barcelona. For almost two hours, the protestors prevented the buses leaving the base and measures had to be taken to bring vehicles from other centres in the city to cover services on the affected lines. Normally, the early morning sees 900 buses preparing to start their routes around Barcelona for the morning rush hour.