On February 27th, 2021, 8 anarchist comrades* from Italy, France and Spain were arrested during the riots in Barcelona stemming from the protests that have been taking place since the arrest of Pablo Hasél on February 16th. All are currently in pre-trial detention without bail in Brians I prison (Catalonia). The serving judge of the 17th Court of Barcelona charged them with belonging to a criminal organization, attempted murder, participation in an illegal demonstration, resistance to state authority, damage to property and disturbance of public order.
All this happened as a result of a vehicle being set on fire which belonged to the riot police of the Guardia Urbana of Barcelona, a police force that has a long history of torture and indiscriminate violence against migrants and homeless people(1) and which the mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau (Barcelona en Comú) promised to disband during the 2015 municipal elections(2). However as we can see, they are still there.
All these accusations are accompanied by a propaganda apparatus provided by the media, which, as a tool of the state, justifies the repression against our comrades* and sparks a climate of fear in order to crush the protests.
For this reason we believe that it is necessary to take a look back at the facts in order to expose these new police fabrications. On Thursday, February 25th, the Catalan government and the main representatives* of the economic, commercial and tourism sectors met to demand an end to „vandalism.“ From this, one of the business representatives stated, „There was a very important collaboration and agreement between the government and the proposals we made to eradicate the radical acts.“ That same Saturday, the 8 comrades* were arrested and accused through the media of instigating the protests and setting fire to the police squad car. The following Monday, March 1st, raids were carried out in occupied houses in Mataró and Canet de Mar, Catalonia(3). To the initial accusations were added the destruction of 5 banks, a clothing store and a hotel. The only evidence against them is the testimony of the police, who claim to have video recordings and are now waiting for the results of DNA tests. The police’s basis for claiming that these people belong to a criminal organization is that they are anarchists and squatters and that they were all carrying the same type of lighter. In addition, graffiti of an A for anarchy had been painted on the police vehicle before it was set on fire. Those arrested, none of whom have criminal records, are being used by the media and the state to channel repression towards them.
If we remember the police operation Pandora and Piñata(4), it becomes clear that once again we are confronted with an operation aimed at stopping self-organization and protests against this state and its abuses. It is not individual events that are being condemned, but an ideological current that runs counter to capitalist interests. They are condemned because they are anarchists. The accusation of belonging to a criminal or terrorist organization is gradually becoming the norm in such constellations. With the disappearance of ETA, we have seen how the state’s actions are becoming more and more focused on the anarchist movement, creating an internal enemy that justifies repression. This gives them the green light to criminalize our lives: through police harassment, raids, house searches, violation of our privacy as well as our political places and spaces, imprisonment in jails etc. In this way, they attempt to wear us down psychologically and economically, destabilizing and stopping our struggles. Although there is a big difference in the media coverage of these kinds of events, we can find some connection with Germany, with the application of article § 129, § 129a (the formation of criminal and formation of terrorist associations).
Since the passage of the so-called Citizen Security Law of 2015, Ley Mordaza, repression has increased in all parts of the territory of the Spanish State. This has led, among other things, to increased fines, tougher criminal prosecutions and expanded use of lethal weapons such as Tasers, foam bullets and rubber bullets. During the recent protests a police officer once again shot a demonstrator in the eye with a foam bullet, causing her to lose the eye. Yet despite the graphic evidence state authorities still refuse to acknowledge the facts weeks later, with no consequences for the police.
With this latest episode of repression they try to put the focus on our comrades, while making the violence that we experience day after day invisible. In a country where education and health services are privatized, evictions have not decreased and unemployment among the young population is 40%, where there are overnight adhoc deportations and incarcerations in detention centers (CIEs)(5) and about 100 women* are murdered every year, the state measures and restrictions related to Covid continue to increase repression. While fascism, which exists in all parts of society, is comfortable hand in hand with liberalism, any kind of protest and social organizing is banned. In the face of attempts to silence us, our strongest weapon will always be solidarity.
Freedom for our imprisoned anarchist comrades and all others affected by repression.
(3) In a video published by the Mossos d’Esquadra (Catalan police) they show the searches carried out as dangerous objects: posters in Italian, motorcycle helmets, clothes, books, fanzines, etc.
This article republished from www.kontrapolis.com from March 10th 2021