27 May 2011

Social unrest in Plaça Catalunya (Barcelona) today

This video link was emailed to me this morning from my cousin in Barcelona, who offers these comments:
Here is a video recorded in downtown Barcelona this morning, where a group of people have been protesting 24/7 for two weeks now. There is no context to the video so you can make of it what you want. One report said that the police were trying to open up a space to get their vehicle out of the square. What is not in doubt is the level of tension between the cops and the protesters. Deep down, the majority of both feel hatred towards one another. It's like our union workers and the owners of the private school where I work. Both sides are constantly focused on provoking the other so as to gain more support from the rest of us. Politicians and party reps are always doing the same. My take is that things are getting nastier here. Perhaps it's an extension of what's been happening elsewhere around the world.
This blog gets over a hundred visits a month from residents of Barcelona. Can anyone offer additional insight into the reasons for the demonstration?


  1. From Reddit:

    Xarxa: 21 points : 1 hour ago*

    Spanish citizen here, and I also live in Barcelona. Allow me to explain a little better what is going on. There have been hundreds of protests all over Spain for 2 weeks now and, AFAIK, this is the first time that the police intervenes to vacate a location. Here they just wanted to vacate the Square for some hours to clean the square, after that, people could come back again. Yes, it sounds stupid to use violence for such a reason, and I'm not defending them, but bear with me, I want to explain the rationale behind this. The reason why the police considered cleaning it up so important is that the Barcelona FC plays a final tomorrow. It is customary for the masses to go to that square (Plaza de Catalunya) to celebrate when the Barcelona wins something important, and this is the Champions League. We are talking a shitload of drunken hooligans, whose average ideology doesn't exactly coincide with that of the protesters, who are many too. As a matter of fact there are far-right groups among the fans of every soccer team ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boixos_Nois ), and this protests' ideology is mostly leftist. See the problem? The police wants to vacate the square temporarily to remove all the litter because every bottle, every object, every piece of public furniture can be used as a deadly weapon if things get messy. (There are even propane tanks that people brought along to generate power)

    Regardless, we all here think this could have been done better. The Guardia Civil (another law enforcement agency) criticized this, saying that the square could have been simply cleaned by parts at a time, duh.

  2. The crowd you see in the video were surrounded by the police and had no place to go, the police arrived at 7am, telling people to go, many did. These ones didn't. The police were moving in, not out.

    They were shooting rubber bullets into the crowd before they were done, which is a wee bit excessive for a cleaning project. The protesters were also extremely well organised, with areas for showers, different types of stands, a kitchen area, a space for bathrooms and had put up many signs themselves, maintaining that this was not for drinking or fighting, but was instead a peaceful protest, as a result the numbers of bottles lying around, when I was there, was very low.

    Protesters continued to return over the course of the cleaning process though things remained largely calm.

    The police have also cleaned out everything, not just items that could cause harm, such as bottles, every piece of paper, book, sign, placard and blanket are gone.

    It also states in Avui, one of the Catalan papers, that the purpose was not just to clean the square, but also to dismantal the tents and constructions that were used for living there.

    The numbers I have read are that 60 people or so were injured, not seriously. There are also complaints, as yet unsubstantiated, though an investigation has started, that some of the police were not wearing their identification ie badge numbers and names, as they are legally obliged.

    The protestors are supposed to be returning this evening at 7pm, as in now, with flowers to show the peaceful nature of the protest, we'll see what happens. Here's a link to what it looked like at 19:50 http://yfrog.com/gzqoqmuj

  3. Strangely, the traffic cameras aimed at the Plaça also were not working at that time, only those.

  4. Com os índios da América do Sul, os espanhóis fizeram bem pior no passado... continuam os mesmos. Miguel Sanchis, espanhol vivendo no Brasil.

  5. Correction, seems the worst of the violence occured when the exit of the police and their 25 vans of confiscated goods were blocked from leaving by people sitting in the streets.

  6. What is going on in Spain now is a reflection of what a lot of people feel. We are being used by our politicians and our bankers. It does not matter what you vote.
    These protesters in Barcelona are people of all kinds wanting a better future. There is lots of videos that show the extreme violence used by the police against PEACEFUL protestors. They didnt want to let the trucks go because they took EVERYTHING they had... from papers, to blankets, to computers. And all of this becuase of football. Well, there is better ways of doing it... and someone should be responsible for all the violence seen yesterday in Barcelona...
    This is just the beginning of our revolution...
    #spanishrevolution #nonosvamos #15M #acampadabcn #acampadasol

  7. No excuse for that excessive force on PEACEFUL, UNARMED civilians. Cops should be fired and charged with assault. I have an idea that the police beat people this way on purpose (some small fraction may even enjoy it), to discourage people from coming to the streets. If you come out exert your right to protest, you may be beaten and treated like an animal. In a harsher climate, maybe even shot.

  8. I'm in sorry about my bad english, anyway I could write in "Catalán" the official language of this little country. Also we could speak spanish because is one of the largest languages around the world. Anyway this is a bit of lots of happenings we have been there by youth people and the only one thing is about to demand jobs or employement because they have not any kind of offering of jobs in order their high level of learnings. We have got lots of old people and we used to do simple jobs but now there are lots of "JASP PEOPLE" who could be translated like: "Youth and good trained" without any employement unable to pay loan to rent a flat.


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