Protesters oppose return of disputed art in Catalonia


Sign at the entrance to Museu de Lleida in Catalonia. Photo taken in 2008 by Adria Ariste Santacreu, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

LLEIDA, Spain (AP) – Clashes have erupted between police and protesters in Spain’s northeastern Catalan city of Lleida after a judicial ruling ordered the city’s museum to return 44 pieces of religious art to the neighboring regional government of Aragon.

Regional police cordoned off the area around Lleida Museum early Monday as technicians prepared to remove the disputed artwork.

Several hundred people turned up to protest the transfer and there were brief scuffles and police baton charges as officers tried to move them further away from the museum.

An Aragon provincial court had given till Monday for the museum to hand over the art — which was originally housed in the region’s Sijena monastery — following a 2015 court ruling.

Catalonia bought the art from nuns in 1983 but the court ruled the sale illegal.


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