Spanish ‘safe cities’ hope to offer a haven for refugees

barcelona refugees tribute memorial

After the Spanish government’s sluggish response over refugees, some indignado-inspired councils have taken the initiative.

The Spanish government, led by Mariano Rajoy, may have dragged its feet in response to pressure from Brussels to take Syrian refugees, but Barcelona, Madrid and several other cities governed by councils with roots in the indignado movement took the initiative with a network of “safe cities” to assist some of those arriving in Europe. Ada Colau, the mayor of Barcelona, started the ball rolling when she announced the launch of a register of families willing to open their home to refugees or simply help them. It proved an immediate success. Thousands of Catalans emailed their details to the list.