Free the prisoners from 4th February : Barcelona/Catalonia
Latest communiqué from the support group of the prisoners 4F :.
In the Early morning of the 4th February, at number 55 St. Pere Mes Baix in Barcelona, police violently arrested 9 people outside a party. Three of them are still in prison, two accused of attempted murder and the other of "attack against the authorities" and incitement to attack. According to official sources, an officer of the Guardia Urbana (municipal police) was injured and is in a coma induced by doctors for theraputic reasons.
In a press conference, the Mayor of Barcelona, Joan Clos, gave a first account of the events which asserted that the injury was provoked by a flowerpot coming from the building where the party was held. Sixteen hours later, the police contradicted this declaration claiming that the blow could have come from any flying object. The next day, the latest official version emerged, saying that it was the people that were arrested in the street that attacked the policeman with stones.
Which of these three versions should the public believe ? If we take the first version of the police proclaimed by Clos, it would mean that none of the arrested could be responsible for the blow that wounded the policeman. Apart from this, until now there has not surfaced any forensic report about what happened apart from the police’s own, so that it is not possible to decide between the various versions of the police and that of the city council (which is co-prosecuter in the case).
The accused deny absolutely the charges which have been brought against them. Eyewitnesses and arrestees agree in saying that a group of people were argueing with three police officers outside the door of the party when the latter started to hit out, after calling for backup. In the same moment, the group which included the accused arrived at the scene and also started to recieve blows. During the incident, the policeman fell down injured, and the Mossos d’Esquadra (Catalan Police) arrived and continued the arrests and the beatings. It should be added that the police, after shouting "halt or I shoot", shot their guns whilst pursueing those that were fleeing from the blows. Those arrested continued being beaten, both in the moment of their arrests and during the time in police stations, hospitals and whilst being transported. The results : severe bruising all over the body, head wounds, black eyes, and for two of the arrested people, broken arms.
The version of the story that the media has turned into public opinion reduces it to a mere confrontation between the police and a few young squatters. Nevertheless, the reality is a result of the particular local context - a barrio that has been reduced to a state of absolute degradation by the urbanistic politics of the city council. It is not the only barrio of Barcelona whose inhabitants are victims of property speculation and violent harrassment by property companies in which the council is complicit and participates. The absolute insensitivity to social realities in these areas has lead the council to launch a heavy deployment of police to repress whatever form of response might come from the inhabitants who are affected by expropriations, lack of facilities, and in general, the destruction of their barrios and their social networks. It would not be an exxagertion to speak about the criminalisation of poverty.
Police violence has been made particularly explicit in the barrio of St. Pere, and many in the neighbourhood who viewed the police charge from their balconies were shocked by the brutality of the repression against the youths in the doorway of the building and those who were just casually passing by. The majority of these witnesses only agree to talk about what happened in private, frightened because of the impression the police actions left, and because since that day there are police contiually in the doorways to their houses. The next day unjustified identifications were continuing, as were threats towards certain of the inhabitants, and anyone who might ’look like a squatter’. Examples of agressions were "would you rather i kill you here or that it do it in Zona Franca (industrial area) ?", punches, kicks to the ankles, and even taking off the shoes of one victim whilst and intimidating them whilst each cop stamped on their feet. To justify the malice with which they were acting,
they claimed that the injured policeman had died.
Finally, something should be added about the ambiguous role which the "Narco Peña Acultural" played. (anarko peña cultural = occupied building where the party was held). For the City Council it is easier to arrest a few South American youths who looked like squatters than have to justfy their responsibility about this piece of their property. It’s inhabitants used it for mafia-style practices, and it is very difficult to believe that the police would ignore such action (for more information see http://www.liberinfo.net/modules.php ?op=modload&name=News&file=article&s)
None of this is casual, the escalation of violence which the different police forces are employing since some time, and more concretly since the entry in force of the laws of civismo (public spirit) and zero tolerence, and the definitive deployment of the Mossos d’Esquadra, and is taking itself out very clearly around certain groups and places in which the interests of the City Council collide with the people who live there.
We demand the liberty without charge of the prisners. and end to abuse and torture and that they give us back our barrios
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