li>Yesterday morning the police attacked hundreds of unarmed protestors, who had been camped out in Plaza de Cataluña in Barcelona for nearly two weeks, as part of the 15M/Democracia Real Ya movement. This national network of loosely affiliated groups is demanding change to the political and economic landscape of Spain, including corruption, control over banks and the electoral system.
The reason for entering the square which they gave was that they needed to clean it, in preparation for a possible celebration if Barcelona win the Champions League Final tonight. When people sat on the ground and refused to move, the Mossos d’Esquad, the regional police force of Cataluña, laid into them with their batons and also used plastic bullets.
Video of Barcelona [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Geg_6Xoy04s]
This video has now been watched by over a million people around the world.
The number of injured was over 80, with one in a serious condition, with a punctured lung and ruptured spleen. However, strangely, there were only two arrests, which in itself says something about the uneccessary degree of police force.
So a rally was convened at the Setas, otherwise known as Metropol Parasol, which is where the movement is based. The massive shades, with their raised plaza, provide a perfect location for big public meetings.
People were asked to wear a flower at last night’s rally, and plenty of the thousand or so who turned up did, including lots of men, to express their solidarity with the protestors at the Barcelona camp.
I had a quick wander round the acampada, to see what had changed since my last visit a week ago. There are fewer people sleeping out there – around 170, I was told – but they are more organised now, with security regulations about how to deal with police confrontations, as well as general rules for the happy existence of such a group. The mood is still upbeat and positive, if not as charged as last week. People are still busy and motivated, focussed and determined, and looking forward to taking their message out into the barrios of Seville, where they had meetings this morning.
I also saw a little veg garden, an activities area, and even a board listing the kids’ entertainment programme.
The meeting followed the same idea, speakers saying their bit spontaneously, earning hand-waving, cheering or applause, depending on the audience’s level of approval. During one speech, a police car drove past with its blue lights flashing, and drew a thunderous communal expression of disapproval.
You can still see plenty of placards.
And the star lady from my last post was still there, with an appropriate floral accessory.