Germans arrested as Spanish stunt sparks terror alert

Police at the scene of the flash mob in Platja d'Aro on Aug 2, 2016.
Police at the scene of the flash mob in Platja d'Aro on Aug 2, 2016.PHOTO: 324.CAT / TWITTER

BARCELONA (AFP) - Five young German women were arrested after a flashmob stunt at a Spanish resort sparked a terror alert, police said Wednesday (Aug 3).

The five caused a stampede in Platja d'Aro in the northeastern region of Catalonia late Tuesday when one of them pretended to be a celebrity and the rest chased after her, whooping and screaming as they tried to snap her paparazzi-style.

Holidaymakers on the crowded seafront panicked, fearing a terror attack was underway.

Videos and pictures on social media showed people racing through the streets in fear, some of them children in tears. Others cowered in restaurants as plates tumbled off tables and smashed on the floor.

Eleven people needed treatment for bruising and panic attacks.

The stunt occurred on the heels of an assault in the French Riviera resort of Nice on July 14 in which a man killed 84 people by ramming them with a truck.

"There are jokes which are not permissible," tweeted regional president Carles Puigdemont. Pep Sole, a Platja d'Aro councillor, told local radio that the Germans could expect to be punished for their stunt.

"My intention and that of the municipal majority, is that there will be repercussions, so that they understand they must not do that again," said Sole.

The five women, aged 20 and 25 and who police said were in Spain as monitors for a youth group, were due to appear in court Wednesday on charges of causing public disorder.