In the year 2000, some 150 immigrants from Ghana, Nigeria and Sierra Leon camped out for several months in the centrally-located Plaza de Cataluña in Barcelona to make themselves visible and demonstrate against their status of social exclusion. Some arrived on the Canary Islands from the African continent in small boats and were then transferred from there and abandoned without any documentation in Barcelona. Given the poor image it offered tourists, on August 6, 2001, they were ousted from Plaza Cataluña by the local police and began a pitiful pilgrimage through the city. A few days later, National Police officers surrounded, pursued and detained 130 Sub-Saharans that had taken refuge in the Plaza André Malraux.
For many immigrants who have achieved their dream of arriving in a country where they think things will be better for them, the reality sometimes turns into a nightmare. Alone, with no knowledge of the language, “without papers” which lead them to unemployment or illegal employment, they must re-weave their new life sleeping in the street, surviving on the generosity of a few, wandering the streets of the confusing world of consumption. Some of them will be arrested and deported to their countries of origin with the frustration and drama of the failure achieved; others will attain their objectives and will find a job that justifies the extraordinary sacrifice they have made.