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ESC condemns 'senseless atrocity' ahead of Barcelona congress

The ESC said its meeting of 32,000 people would proceed as planned in eight days’ time

Terror on the streets of Barcelona

The European Society of Cardiology has expressed its solidarity with the people of Spain and vowed that its mega-congress in terror-hit Barcelona will ‘proceed as planned’ in eight days’ time.

It comes after a vehicle drove into crowds on Las Ramblas late Thursday, killing 13 people and injuring dozens more. A second attack took place early Friday morning in Catalan, when a vehicle drove into seven people including a police officer, leaving one person in a critical condition.

The annual ESC congress is expected to attract 32,000 delegates to Barcelona.

An ESC statement read: “The volunteers and staff of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) are shocked and deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life in Barcelona yesterday.

“Our sympathy is with the victims and their families. Our solidarity is with all the people of Spain. What has become ever more apparent lately is that no country, no community, is immune from this violence. In just a little more than a year, these vehicular attacks have been seen in France, Germany, Britain and Sweden.These acts are meant to terrorise and disrupt. 

“They succeed only if we allow them. ESC Congress is scheduled in Barcelona eight days from now. It will proceed as planned. We have staff members on site who are in close consultation with local authorities. We already had security arrangements prepared. We are currently reviewing them and will make any modifications necessary.  We will provide additional information as warranted.

“In the meantime, our thoughts are with everyone affected by this senseless atrocity.”

Barcelona Turisme has set up a 24-hour call line and is offering alternative hotel rooms for those affected by yesterday's terror attacks.

The convention bureau says the city has activated its emergency plan, and that it is working with Gremi d'Hotels to house those who need it.

Barcelona Turisme said that it condemned the attack in Barcelona and that it would join in a minute's silence at Catalunya Square at 12pm to "share the grief with all victims".

London & Partners has also reacted to the attacks, saying on Twitter that the bureau's "thoughts and sympathies are with those affected by the incidents in Barcelona and Cambrils".

Barcelona came in third in the latest International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) rankings, behind Paris and Vienna, after hosting 181 conferences in 2016.

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