Members of the Catalan parliament who are arriving at the building to take part in today's debate on the Generalitat's 2011 budgets are being given access via a police cordon, due to the presence of around 2,000 protestors (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). About 400 agents of the Mossos d'Esquadra and the Guardia Urbana are protecting the passageway (set up at an entrance close to Barcelona Zoo) to enable the politicians as well as staff to enter, leaving the 'indignados' at the doors of the parliament. So far there have been some minor incidents involving certain deputies, such as former education minister of the tripartite Ernest Maragall (PSC) who was pushed, while the previous deputy at the interior ministry, Joan Boada, had his head spray-painted. Others were subjected to booing and shouted insults against politicians, who have been one of the main targets of the 15-M protests, which, until now, had been located in Plaça Catalunya. While all of those who have entered the parliament building have so far done so on foot, there are some with reduced mobility, such as the wheelchair-bound deputy David Bonvehí, who have yet to arrive.
The new Partido Popular mayor of Badalona has announced that he will restrict access to certain financial benefits in the town to those who have been living there for at least five years (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). In this way, Xavier García Albiol said in declarations to SER Radio (which have been confirmed by a press release from the radio station), he wanted to limit the financial help given to immigrants in the town. "The main problem in Badalona is the financial crisis," Albiol said, "and also the problems of insecurity, which in the main have been created by a series of immigrants." The mayor said that he would, in line with legal mechanisms, expel from the town those people who had gone there to create problems, and defended the viability of "political pressure against that minority section of immigrants who don't want to integrate." He went on to say, "They won't be able to enjoy financial aid if there are neighbours who can't do so."
Dust and ash particles released into the atmosphere in recent weeks from the Icelandic volcano Grimsvötn could make tonight's lunar eclipse into one of the most spectacular of the past decades (read article in Catalan here, Avui). The solid particles that are present at the higher levels of the atmosphere could make the dark silhouette of the Moon, covered by the Earth, appear like a large red circle. "All eclipses are different, but in this case, it's very possible that we will see the eclipsed Moon with a very red tone, like a brick-red or copper colour," explained Josep Border of Aster, Agrupació Astronòmica de Barcelona. The eclipse will start at 8.22pm (Catalan time), practically coinciding with the moment that the Moon appears on the horizon, looking towards the east, if you're observing from Catalunya. The time of the total eclipse will be at 9.22pm, finishing at 11.02pm. Other conditions that mean it could be a special sight for those watching it here are that it will start while it is still daylight in Catalunya, and the moon's proximity on the horizon, giving the optical illusion that it is much bigger than when it's at its zenith. Watching a lunar eclipse doesn't require any special protective equipment and can be photographed relatively easily. The next lunar eclipse that promises to be so good will not be until July 27th, 2018.