The Mossos have confirmed they did not employ the use of rubber bullets during the day of the general strike on September 29th and their were no serious injuries (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). The fallout from the disturbances during the strike continue with the riot police, who were stationed around Gran Via with Passeig de Gràcia claiming they did not fire rubber bullets. Sources, from the top level in the Mossos d"Esquadra confirmed this and claimed the noises heard were explosions and that the mounted police did not open fire. Despite not employing this method of crowd control, which is used only in cases when police officers are in physical danger, it was also confirmed that the police did have to activate their emergency buttons on their radio equipment many times. The battle between police and violent protesters lasted between eight and nine hours and Mossos staff have revealed that calls to undercover police, working to arrest street robbers, were called to leave their usual work and move to the hot spots of down.
The ayuntamiento have opened an office to help boost trade in the areas of Santa Caterina and Barceloneta where around 320 locals are empty (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). The services provided by the office, which opened yesterday, include advice to ease the process of those entrepreneurs wishing to launch their own business in that area and is closely linked to the local development agency Barcelona Activa. The office, which offers online and personalised attention by appointments made by telephone (010). Of the 320 empty locals, recognised by the local council, 222 of them are included in the project with marked conditions: a minimum rental contract and a monthly rent not exceeding €15 per square metre for the first two years. The other 100 or so, will be marked as warehouse spaces and not used for commercial or business establishments. Mayor, Jordi Hereu, said yesterday, "We want to raise blinds and fill these small places with the best projects." He stressed that these initiatives need not be purely commercial establishments but can include any economic activity. In addition to these conditions, Fomento de Ciutat Vella have developed an agreement with MicroBank, an entity which develops the activity of micro-credit and small loans to encourage productive activities) that will fund the operations in Sant Pere, Santa Caterina and Barceloneta. The maximum amount to be offered is 20 percent of the cost of the operation and and initial €100,000 per year for the overall programme. Priority will be given to vulnerable gropus in situations of financial exclusion.
The LA Lakers arrive in Barcelona to play FC Barcelona this Thursday (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). Before four thousand fans, the best team in the world trained in the Blaugrana ahead of their game at the Sant Jordi stadium on Thursday. Kobe Bryant, their main star, said of the chances of playing despite his knee injury, "I'll play. I hope to play a good match because we always expect to win and compete hard." This is the American team's second game on their pre-season tour, they lost to the Minnesota Timberwolves in London with a score of 111-92. Bryant said of his team player, the Catalan Pau Gasol, "It will be very exciting for him to return as a real star, as a two-time winner of the NBA. He is one of the best players in the world and you just have to sit and watch and enjoy yourself."