Barcelona was returning to its usual bustling self hours after terrorists killed 13 people and injured scores of others.
Lawyer and University of Glasgow rector Aamer Anwar said that businesses had begun reopening on the busy pedestrianised street of Las Ramblas. The street, which is nearly a mile long, is one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions and is packed with cafes, restaurants, shops and stalls.
Mr Anwar said: “Life seems to be going back very quickly to normality.”
“Shop owners are opening up, stalls are back out on the street, but I’m conscious that there are two types of people here. “There are those that saw what happened, there were those who were right in the heart of it, like myself, and then there were others who were tourists who had no clue.
“I was conscious of that yesterday when I was in Las Ramblas, when there were people like myself who were in shock, people upset, people crying, but then there was people who had no idea what had gone on, laughing and getting on with life and whatever. So there was mixed emotions.”
Mr Anwar also said a heavy police presence remained on the streets. “It’s huge,” he said. “Literally you can see every 15 to 20 metres there are armed police officers, there are vans, police cars at every corner. So there is an extremely high police presence everywhere.
“There was even when I was arrived, but now it’s swamped with emergency services.”
Mr Anwar said the local reaction had been one of “shock”, but commended the efforts of the emergency services and the “sea of humanity” that had assisted the wounded at the scene. He said: “It’s just a case of shock. But also many Spanish people have been aware of terrorist attacks in the past and the emergency response yesterday was tremendous.
“Literally within 30 seconds, hundreds of uniformed police officers with guns, plain clothes, and fire brigade, ambulances, did a tremendous job of clearing out the area, running in the direction. “There is almost a spirit here that Barcelona will carry on. It seems to be the approach that people are adopting, that they won’t be divided, they won’t allow these people to succeed.
“What I saw yesterday was a sea of humanity. People – black and white, Asian, gay, straight, people who were Muslim, non-Muslim, every race, creed, religion represented on this street. “And that’s probably exactly the reason why these people attacked it – because it’s what they hate.”