The police attack on the protestors' camp in Barcelona last Friday has provoked a broadening of the movement. Graham Kirkwood reports from Pla√ßa Catalunya
The fallout continues from last Fridays (27th May 2011) failed attempt by police to clear the protest camp at Pla√ßa Catalunya in Barcelona. The spotlight is now on the Interior Minister Felip Puig of the Catalan Nationalist party the “Converg√®ncia Democràtica de Catalunya” who ordered the violent police operation against peaceful protesters which resulted in 120 young people being hospitalised, four seriously injured.
A campaign is underway to bring about his resignation. Demands have also been raised for the resignation of all the senior commanders responsible in the Catalan police, for the withdrawal of rubber bullets and for the police to always have their identification numbers visible as required by law. There is also to be an official investigation into the incident and the media is carrying debates about the action.
Following the victory of the protesters over the police the camp was back up and running within hours and I witnessed marchers coming from other parts of Barcelona to join the camp in solidarity. Every night there are mass assemblies where debates take place and votes are taken, decisions and minutes are loaded onto the website (http://acampadabcn.wordpress.com/). This is true democracy in action.
The actions of the police and politicians has provoked a broadening of the movement. Posters appeared on the metro on Saturday, banners were put up and waved by the crowd at the Primavera music event and Jarvis Cocker of the band Pulp dedicated their song Common People to the injured protesters to huge applause. The protesters are also now out leafleting passers by telling them why they are in the square.
There are also now assemblies in other squares in Barcelona such as the Pla√ßa de la Vila de Gracia where we came across one of 100 or so people last night. These have the potential to connect with workers and older people more as they are located in the residential areas.
Connecting with workers is crucial and urgent. One of the most shocking things about what happened last Friday was that after the police had beaten and dragged away protesters, council workers came in and started to clean and dismantle the protest camp. It is no wonder there appears to be a distrust among the protesters (“los indignados”) towards the unions ( “los sindicatos”). I was told by one older supporter of the protest that the official unions don't want anything to do with the movement.
The movement is growing and spreading in Barcelona and the attempt at violent repression has failed. One speaker at the assembly last night made it clear to everyone the international significance of this movement. The protesters want it to spread internationally and for us all to take over our squares.
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