On June 15 thousands of citizens from Barcelona gathered outside the parliament of Catalunya. They were protesting against austerity measures that were to be discussed that same day. These measures included cut-backs on education and health care.
The citizens of Barcelona defined themselves ‘indignados’, because of the fact that the banks responsible for the crisis benefited of hundreds of billions of euros in public credits while public services and citizens themselves were made to pay.
High unemployment rates, especially among young people, increased evictions of families unable to pay their mortgage, continuing speculation on real estate and widespread vacancy of housing all added to the people’s anger. They felt abandoned by a political class that was exclusively and transversally preoccupied with defending certain economic interests over the interest of the people they were supposed to represent.
Since May 15 people from Barcelona – and from all over Spain and many other countries – have given rise to popular assemblies to practice an example of what they want to reach.
Real Democracy Now
The popular assemblies that have sprung up all over Europe are characterised by an atmosphere of peaceful exchange of ideas and constructive debate. They are aimed at reaching consensus through the use of collective intelligence. Non-violence is the founding principle of the movement.
On the morning of June 16 the front pages of Spanish newspapers all brought the story of a fringe of protesters which had become violent. They were said to have attacked and insulted politicians who were being escorted through the crowd to parliament. No injuries were reported. It was emphasized that a large part of the politicians, including the president, had to be brought to parliament in helicopter.
The story did not match up with the facts documented by the people on the spot. (Links all posted below).
Amateur footage shows police attacking protesters and firing warning shots to disperse the crowd. It also shows a group of the supposedly violent protesters covering their faces and being escorted away by the police. Judging from their weaponry, these persons were likely to have been infiltrators from the Spanish national police.
Videos posted on YouTube documenting the infiltration where later blacked out. The man who posted them received a letter from the channel which stated that the footage violated the privacy of the infiltrating officers.
In his response, the blogger asserted that the films were shot at a public occasion, that no personal data were shown, and that the documented facts where all but a matter of privacy. They were a matter of public interest.
The blogger expressed his hopes that YouTube/Google was not in any way acting as a result of pressure to censor this valuable material to the benefit of the official story as published by the mainstream media.
It would be odd if a company that tries to present itself as a defender of openness and the free exchange of ideas in closed societies as China was actively cooperating in censoring information on police violence among peaceful protesters in a Western nation.
Suspicions that the whole event was carefully orchestrated from the start until the ‘official version’ of the story came out, were fed by reports that the helicopter carrying the politicians was on stand-by long before protesters had sealed off the entrance to parliament.
In a statement issued afterwards the president of the Catalan parliament was not ashamed to say that the alleged aggression by peaceful demonstrators justified a posteriori the violent charge with which riot police cleared the Plaza de Catalunya three weeks ago, causing over a hundred wounded.
The Barcelona infiltration comes just days before an internationally coordinated protest, which is to take place in all Spanish cities on Sunday.
In the light of this recent attempt at provocation and misinformation by authorities and the press, the people of Spain will be even more determined than before to demonstrate their complete rejection of this political class and the economic interests it represents.
They will make a lot of noise. They will respect their fellow citizens in uniform, but they will not fear them. They will be disobedient, but they will be peaceful.
And they will be vigilant.
For years our daily life has been monitored by camera’s, in private and public spaces. Wherever we go, we can expect to be observed. Today, Sunday June 19, will be no different. Everyone who commits violent acts can expect to be observed and exposed.
They will not represent a movement based on peaceful resistance.