Monday, May 30, 2011


Violence flared in the plaza de Cataluña in Barcelona in the early hours of Friday morning as riot police moved in to clear the city’s major square of “los indignados” who since May 15 have been protesting against political corruption in Spain and calling for major changes to Spanish society.

The reason for the confrontations in which 120 people were injured was not political but soccer related. On Saturday night Barcelona played Manchester United in the European Champions League final at Wembley and the plaza had to be cleared so that giant TV screens could be erected for the crowds to watch the game. The ensuing battle between baton wielding police and the peaceful demonstrators gave a whole new meaning to soccer violence.

At the time the police moved in around 200 people were sleeping in the plaza as they have been for the previous two weeks. Soon another 1,000 protestors came to the square to attempt to prevent the officers from removing the protestors. The authorities said they just wanted to clean the square ahead of preparing it for the soccer match after which “los indignados” were welcome to return. Return they did for by mid-after over 9,000 people were said to be in the plaza. Now Jueces para la Democracía has called for an investigation to hold to account those officers of the Mossos d´Escuadra and the Guardia Urbana who attacked the protestors.

Meanwhile in Madrid the Movimiento 15-M who have occupied the Puerta del Sol said on Sunday they are to maintain their camp but it will undergo some restructuring. They announced the decision after the centre right Partido Popular ruled Comunidad de Madrid called on the Ministry of the Interior to remove the protestors as they were infringing the State of Law and had prevented the free movement of people. Curiously the PP had raised no objections to the protests in the run up to the recent elections in which they gave the ruling PSOE a bloody nose!

It is expected the protest zone will be reduced in size so as not to inconvenience local residents and businesses. However the assemblies in Málaga, Sevilla, Bilbao, Barcelona and Valencia have vowed to carry on whilst others such as in Toledo have opted to dismantle theirs.

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