Barcelona Bars Raided During Pride


Pride ended poorly for the patrons of La Bata de Boatiné and El 23, two bars in Barcelona, Spain. At 3am on June 29th the gay bar La Bata de Boatiné was raided by about 20 Mossos, the civilian police force, as they broke down the door to the bar. According to News Vine, the Mossos wore bulletproof vests and masks but no identification, which is illegal in Spain. The Mossos in turn only asked for the ID of the bar owner, Miquel, and performed a cursory search for drugs with a police dog, which found nothing. Customers found the raid to be unecessary and violent, and done only to intimidate. Miquel told the El Diario newspaper: 

[…]he believes the tactics used by the agents were due to "homophobia" otherwise "it makes no sense to have all this police presence just to ask me for a document," especially when the bar passed a city inspection only four months ago.

The night went even worse for El 23, the straight bar next door. One of the patrons, Sergi Boal, complained loudly during the raid and as a result was kept in the bar as the rest of the patrons were escorted out. When left alone with the Mossos, things allegedly turned violent as Boal was then grabbed by the throat, called cowardly scum, and beaten until the thought he "was going to die." They examined the contents of his wallet and then left. It is suspected that because El 23 shares an address with La Bata de Boatiné that the Mossos thought it was a gay bar as well. This suspicion is supported by one of the Mossos calling one of Boal's friends a "maricón," which as we learned from the holy Cardinal Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez is a slur that generally translates as "faggot." Across town other gay bars such as El Cangrejo were the victim of similar raids.

El Diario's sources at the Mossos and at the city police force Guardia Urbana say that these incidents were routine and merely a coincidence that they happened at a bunch of gay bars during Pride. Barcelona city counselor Mercè Homs offered a weak "apology" for any "inappropriate attitudes." Bar owners are considering legal action and liberal political parties are asking for investigations. The Mossos would do well to look at the history they are repeating that happened at Stonewall or, more recently, The Rainbow Lounge and the fallout that they may well be bringing down on their own heads.


  1. Chevytexas says

    Awful but hopefully it’ll diffuse the recent Barcelona “we’re so hip” C of C blurb American and other tourists have been swallowing. Who wrote that limp closing line, implying the Mossos had better watch out… tou do know we’re talking about the longest lived Fascist nation on Earth, right? The North Korea of Europe? Freedom isn’t free and Barcelona is not representative of Spain. The better warning would be, let them know our tourist and tax bucks won’t go thete.

  2. nick says

    Was seriously considering a trip to Barcelona with a friend who’s going in a few months to visit relatives. I’ve canceled my plans and plan to inform him about what’s going on there as I know he frequents some bars in that city.

  3. Fernando says

    Barcelona has been a tolerant city in the last decades with leftist mayors but the current mayor is a conservative and the things are getting worse. The current mayor of Barcelona (Trias) belongs to the conservative and nationalist (lately independentist) party CiU, the same party that’s running the Government of the region of Catalonia. CiU is trying to create a society less diverse, their ideal is a monolingual heterosexual society, they are trying to erradicate the spanish in the public areas and one of their leaders (Duran i Lleida) says homosexuality is a disease.

  4. Fernando says

    It’s important to say that the Mossos are the police of Catalonia. It’s never happened something like that with the “Policía” the spanish police, spanish society is very tolerant and the Pride in Madrid is the most important in Europe (and maybe in the world).

  5. Jerry says

    I have spent a good bit of time in Barcelona and found it to be incredibly gay friendly. They even have a great gay luxury hotel called Axel. I am absolutely shocked by this. Their fascist days were behind them and I hope they don’t have plans to bring them back. Id be even more surprised by that.

  6. Jason says

    I’m sorry but if a gay bar encourages drug use, it should be shut down. I don’t care whether it’s in Barcelona or Bosnia. Just because you use the word “gay” in front of “bar”, it doesn’t give you the right to do illegal things in there.

    As for Barcelona in general, I find it very sleazy. Sleazy does not mean gay-friendly.

  7. Joe in Ct says

    There are less confrontational ways to sniff out drugs in a bar, gay or otherwise. Sounds like the bust was intended to disrupt business. Perhaps the bar owner missed a “protection payment” to the local police?

  8. says

    Of course, you would find one of the most beautiful cities in the world sleazy, Jason, reina de dreariness. I’ve been there twice in the past 2 years and found it gay-friendly both times. (Hard to get more gay-friendly than the Axel.) And great food, always.

  9. arch says

    My partner, who is Spanish (though not Catalan)worked in Barcelona for a year necessitating frequent trips by myself from London (it’s a tough job but someone…).

    The city is mostly gay friendly and only “sleazy” in a port city sort of way, (it may be that some north Americans would find it a little less tidy that they are used to).

    The current Catalan administrations both in the province and city are quite conservative and very separatist. the reports of this raid are of concern and may be linked to the recent political developments.

    HOWEVER, Barcelona is a wonderful city, the Catalans and the Spanish are a highly complex polity with a very strong liberal tradition set alongside the more conservative forces in their country.

    Any gay visitors will have no problems visiting the city or anywhere else in Spain.

    The Spanish have been on an extraordinary journey over the last eighty years and deserve great respect for the liberal democracy they have created since the death of Franco, there is an ongoing tension between progressive and conservative tendencies in the country (like many other countries).

    Please do not cancel your visits to this great country, by visiting the country you support progressive tendencies just by your presence.

    And you will experience one of the world’s great cultures, intense (try living with a Spaniard!), creative (visit the Prado and gasp), enjoyable (the great food of the Basque and Catalan regions), challenging (the bull fights and current political demonstrations), and all with the most modern transport system in Europe!

    Spain needs its foreign visitors now more than ever, not just for economic reasons but also to show solidarity with this great nation that only re-joined the family of Europe a little over thirty years ago.

    Visit and you will not be disappointed by either the country or its passionate, witty and often wise people, (and by the way they also tend to be a handsome race!).

  10. johnny says

    “The main function of the Mossos is to protect the freedom and security of citizens, in accordance with the governing legislations.”

    quote from another source.

    Hmmm… doesn’t sound very true.

  11. John says

    Barcelona is one of the most welcoming cities for gays in the world. This anomaly should not cause anyone to change their travel plans. In fact, it just makes me want to go back to that wonderful place.

  12. ratbastard says

    Of course it was harassment and designed to be so. As for Spain, I didn’t visit Barcelona so can’t comment, but found Madrid to be an unfriendly place and Spanish come across to me as a rather provincial people compared to other Europeans. They didn’t come across, on a whole, as being particularly friendly or welcoming of foreigners [non-Spanish]. I also got the distinct impression of pretty rampant anti-Americanism even though everyone I met didn’t think I was American and were surprised when I told them. And I am part Spanish on my paternal grandfather’s side.