A series of black humour posters mocking the recent deaths of young British tourists falling from balconies have appeared on the streets of Barcelona during the past week.
Written in broken English, the yellow posters scattered across the city read: “Dear Tourist. Did you know balconing? Prevents gentrification, improves neighbours’ quality of life, reduces the risk of heart disease, is LOTS of fun.”
The distasteful artwork is believed to be the work of a group of anti-tourist campaigners claiming that excessive tourism in the city is driving up rental prices and pushing out local businesses.
Balconing is a mock English word used to describe jumping from balcony to balcony or from a balcony into a swimming pool.
Accidents during such activities and other falls from balconies have claimed the lives of a number of people, mainly tourists, in recent years, including the unresolved case of Kirsty Maxwell, who fell from a Benidorm balcony last year.
Most posters reportedly appeared in the popular tourist spot of Vallcarca, near ParcGuell, which features work by the architect Antoni Gaudi.
The Catalan capital, like many major tourist cities throughout the World such as Amsterdam, Venice, Rome, Sydney and San Francisco has struggled with the phenomenon of over tourism in recent years since the advent of budget airlines and cheap flights made short city breaks highly popular.
Compounded by unlicenced tourist accommodation, such as Airbnb and Instagram friendly sights encouraging groups of young people to head for these popular cities, a backlash was bound to occur eventually.
However, as innocent as the posters appear to be, they have caused fury amongst British tourists and Barcelona citizens alike for making fun of tragic deaths which affect families and loved ones of the victims for a lifetime.
In fact, Spain has seen six Balconing deaths this summer already, the latest victim had spent just a few hours in Palma de Mallorca in the Balearic Islands before he died.
The 23-year-old German man had travelled to the island for a vacation with his friends near Palma beach.
Returning to his hotel on Monday evening, the 23-year-old went to the 12th floor of the hotel he was staying at and, under the effects of a yet-to-be-determined toxic substance, fell from one of the windows in a corridor. He landed in the interior courtyard and died.
In Barcelona, unhappy users of social media were quick to express their revulsion at the posters taking to Twitter to blast their insensitivity.
One user said they made a mockery of the deaths, while a Spanish user said they had “crossed the line” and another wrote, “Hey, balconing people, this is not funny”.
A spokeswoman for Barcelona City Council said: “We reject these incidents and above all the message. They will be removed by the municipal cleaning services.”