Barcelona’s popular Las Ramblas walkway quietly reopened to the public on Friday, just hours after a van rampage killed 13 people and wounded more than 100.
The city centre was closed down on Thursday evening after the van zigzagged through it, before the driver escaped on foot. So-called Islamic State has taken responsibility for the attack.
This morning, residents and tourists were allowed past police lines and slowly trickled back to their homes and hotels, though the city centre remained under heavy surveillance. Shop and stall-owners also opened for business.
Hannah Al-Othman said: “This morning it looks to be business as usual on Las Ramblas. Still plenty of police about but shops and cafes open.”
“Love the defiance of the stallholders on Las Ramblas this morning opening up as normal,” tweeted Mike Martin.
Daily Mirror associate editor Kevin Maguire suggested: “Stallholders reopening on Las Ramblas isn’t callous but a declaration the evil jihadis won’t win. We defeat them with defiance and security.”
Paul Connew echoed the sentiment, tweeting: “The way Las Ramblas quickly reopened = impressive. Defiance is the best counter-attack response and vital tourists don’t desert Barcelona.”
Meanwhile a bearded-youth was applauded as an unwitting social media “hero” after he was spotted behind a Spanish TV reporter wearing a T-shirt bearing the message: “Fuck ISIS.”
A demonstration that will include a minute of silence honoring the victims was announced by public officials for Friday at noon at the Plaza Catalunya, next to the top of the Ramblas, where the deadly attack began.
Queues of people lined roads to get into the square itself, with police officers conducting careful searches of bags and persons.
“This is a way to show we are confronting this attack,” Estelle, a Barca native told HuffPost.