Some 2,500 polluting cars protest against the ZBE in the center of Barcelona

Those affected by the Baixes Emissions Zone point to disobedience

The first time Mònica Xufré announced a Facebook event against the Baixes Emissions Zone (ZBE), on June 16, 2016, 12 people attended. At twelve noon this Sunday, some 2,500 vehicles, according to the Platform Affected by the Traffic Restrictions, have collapsed the Paseo de Gràcia and Aragó Street, between Pau Claris and Balmes, to protest against this regulation of the Barcelona City Council.

The city center looked like a used car market. From a beautiful 1959 Chevrolet Impala to fused transport vans, motorbikes, SUVs, rally cars and campers aroused the curiosity of local and foreign riders. It smelled like gasoline and every now and then some old engine roared to prove its power. Even some driver planted a camping table between car and car to bathe some bread rolls with tomato washed down with a porron of wine. Only the slogans against the ZBE and the CO2 tax gave an air of manifestation to the event.

With grandpa’s car
“We have joined truckers, freelancers with small vans, people who keep Grandpa’s Seat 127, those on motorcycles, collectors… – Mònica Xufré listed, becoming spokesperson for this citizen platform with 3,200 members -. They would have to realize that they are doing very badly so that people so different are manifesting ourselves today. ”

Xufré is autonomous and drives a 1993 Volvo that has 600,000 kilometers traveled and that serves both for work and for traveling with the family. Since January 2, it can no longer circulate without an environmental label for an area of ​​95 square kilometers – which includes the municipalities of Barcelona (with the exception of the Free Zone and the neighborhoods of Vallvidrera, Tibidabo and Les Planes) and L’Hospitalet, as well as part of Cornellà, Esplugues and Sant Adrià–, but assures that it will continue driving even after April 1, when the City Council will begin to fine these vehicles.

“I am practicing civil disobedience,” he says. When they impose rules on you, they have to give you tools so that they can comply. What cannot be is that, in addition to not giving them to you, they criminalize you, watch you with cameras, fine you and put the population against you. ”

Xufré considers himself an environmentalist: “I recycle, reuse and repair,” he says. It has spent 200 euros on a filter and its Volvo has given 0 in the opacity test (black fumes) of the ITV. In line with one of the slogans of the concentration, replacing old cars with new ones is not ecological, considering that adapting old cars would give work to many workshops and contribute to the circular economy.

Silvia Piñero González is dedicated to renovating floors and driving a second-hand Seat Trans van that has a whopping 36 years. She assures that she will also continue to use it from April 1, but for her it is not a matter of civil disobedience to an unjust norm: “It is obedience to my life and my work,” he explains. This is a full-fledged attack. You cannot impose a regulation overnight on vehicles that pass the ITV ”.

The city council expects that the ZBE will contribute to reducing pollution by 15%, but the platform believes that the activities of the port and the airport pollute much more and that the most vulnerable are being punished. “We want you to listen to us,” asks David Llort, president of the citizen platform. We come with solutions that the European Union is applying in other countries, but here instead everything is to ban, ban, ban without giving an alternative. ”


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