Pianist calmly plays as anti-lockdown rioters start fires in Barcelona

Is this burning an eternal flame? Astonishing moment pianist calmly plays Bangles classic while anti-lockdown rioters start fires and clash with police in Barcelona

  • Video uploaded by busker on Sunday morning following night of violence
  • Second night of anti-lockdown riots in the city after new rules brought in
  • Riot police clashed with up to a thousand demonstrators who hurled bricks
  • In the footage, the pianist is unfazed by the violence behind him as he plays the 1988 Bangles hit with the famous lyric: ‘Is this burning an eternal flame?’  

This is the astonishing moment a pianist calmly plays ‘Eternal Flame’ as anti-lockdown rioters start fires and clash with police in Barcelona.

The video was uploaded by a busker on Instagram over the weekend following Saturday night’s furious demonstrations against new lockdown rules in the Catalan city.

The violence erupted after prime minister Pedro Sánchez declared a state of emergency and imposed a nationwide curfew between 11pm and 6am on October 25, with people only allowed to leave their homes for essential journeys.

In the pianist’s footage, explosions go off and youths are seen hurling rocks at police vans while he plays the 1988 Bangles hit with the famous lyric: ‘Is this burning an eternal flame?’

A fire burns behind the man as he plays the 1988 Bangles hit ‘Eternal Flame’ during riots in Barcelona

An explosion cracks, police sirens wail and youths sprint through the streets but the pianist is unfazed

Small fires were started on the streets of Barcelona during clashes with police on Saturday night

A rioter faces off with armoured police during a second night of disturbances in Spain’s second-largest city on Saturday

Some demonstrators hurled barricades at police as they gathered outside the headquarters of the regional and local government in Barcelona on Friday

On Saturday, demonstrators took to the streets for a second night of protests against the new lockdown, setting fires and pelting officers with projectiles.

Earlier, around 1,500 hotel and restaurant workers took part in a peaceful march against the restrictions which threaten their livelihoods.

All bars and restaurants have been closed in the Spanish region of Catalonia, which includes Barcelona, until November 13.   

A day before, about 50 demonstrators attacked police with stones in Barcelona, set rubbish containers on fire and looted shops. Fourteen people were arrested and 30 injured.  

Up to a thousand people had been attending an unauthorised anti-lockdown demonstration on Friday before they started pushing against police cordons.

A protester holds a brick aloft during a rally in Barcelona on Friday night against new regional measures to curb the spread of coronavirus

Riot police wielding batons attempt to disperse the demonstrators on Friday night

A demonstrator throws a rock at a police van in central Barcelona on Friday after a protest against new coronavirus restrictions descended into violence

Many of those taking part work in sectors badly affected by the pandemic, including restaurants, the arts and gyms. 

They started throwing flares and bricks at officers who then moved in to disperse the rioters in the city centre.  

Police also hit protesters with batons and reportedly used foam bullets against those assembled outside the regional and local government headquarters. 

Dozens of protesters then separated into groups to narrow streets in Barcelona’s gothic quarter, setting trash containers on fire to serve as barricades. 

Catalonia’s regional interior minister, Miquel Samper said declaring a curfew across Spain was unavoidable after some groups ignored calls to keep personal contacts and opportunities for exposure to a minimum. 

Spanish officials cited the Spanish youth custom of gathering on park benches to drink cheap liquor mixed with soft drinks – a practice called ‘botellon,’ Spanish for ‘big bottle’ – as a potential source of infections when Spain first emerged from its strict spring home confinement.

Some protesters set bins alight in the Barcelona’s streets as police attempted to disperse the crowd on Friday night

Protesters face off against police in central Barcelona on Friday night over new coronavirus measures including a curfew and the closure of the hospitality sector

Some of the outdoor get-togethers can reach the level of a ‘macrobotellon’ – mega-big bottle – and attract hundreds of participants.

With face masks off and social distance reduced to inches, the revellers are easy targets for the virus. 

‘The prohibiting of night-time movement has one goal,’ Samper said. ‘For weeks, we have said that no one should go out at night, or meet with several people, or consume alcohol at these parties called “botellon.” But it is obvious from images we have all seen that we have not been successful.’ 

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