Barcelona is still mourning the 16 people killed on 17 August, when a van drove into the crowds on the central boulevard of Las Ramblas and a car knocked down pedestrians in the nearby seaside town of Cambrils. Master’s student Cristina Saladrich had been on Las Ramblas 30 minutes before the attack.
‘I was in Barcelona when the attack happened. My home is quite far from there, but I had just been at the Ramblas with a friend 30 minutes before the event. The moment it happened, I immediately received a message and when I checked the internet I saw what was going on. From that moment on all my friends and family were checking on each other to see if they were okay. Luckily none of my close friends or family were hurt.
The scariest thing was that we didn’t know where the attacker was. There was a lot of information, but also a lot of incorrect information. Everyone in Barcelona was talking about it. The police thought the attacker was in a restaurant, which turned out not to be true. My little sister was working near Las Ramblas and there was no security at all so she was very scared. And yes, I was scared too.
A few days after the attack, more than half a million people took part in an anti-terrorism march through Barcelona. My friends were at the march. I don’t think it will change the mentality of the attackers, but it is good to show the world that we can do something. We should do something instead of sitting and waiting for it to happen. People did a really good job when it happened, they helped each other.
I think the government could have done more. When they attacked, the government already knew it might happen. They only put policemen over there, which was not enough. They should have done something to stop cars. Also the government should watch radicalised people more closely. Most of all I hope it won’t happen again.’