Friday October 25th
Protests are continuing daily over the 9 – 13 year jail sentences handed down to moderate Catalan politicians and civil society leaders – simply for calling a referendum on independence in 2017, and organising peaceful demonstrations.
This one, in Barcelona on yesterday (Friday October 25), was called at just a few hours notice by student and youth groups, and comes after severe repression from the police which has resulted in 2,410 arrests and 535 injuries so far – 210 of them from rubber and plastic bullets.
Anger is also directed at the Catalan government, who have also sent police in against the demonstrations – and the extreme violence is now leading to solidarity demonstrations across the rest of the Spanish state, on a scale not seen two years ago.
There’s no question that the movement is growing more radical as frustration grows with their own government, who is still implementing austerity cuts – and it’s a very young movement that is absolutely fearless in their determination to get justice. With protests already called up to Christmas, this is a movement that’s not going away anytime soon.
Saturday October 26th
Today we covered the vast 350,000 strong protest in Barcelona in solidarity with the imprisoned Catalan politicians. This was the official demo organised in support of those whom have been jailed and it attracted a wide range of people from across Catalan society.
Then we witnessed some truly astonishing scenes in the evening. A symbolic protest was called where activists planned to hand back rubber and foam baton rounds that had been shot at protestors over the past two weeks. There have been very many serious injuries including 4 lost eyes.
Thousands and thousands of people showed up in support of this action closing one of the main roads that runs past the central police station chanting “Catalonia is anti fascist!”. A convoy of van from the hated Polizia Nationale (National Police) was trapped in the crowd and had to be rescued by riot cops. Dozens of riot cops that were protecting the station were forced to withdraw from the positions as the mainly young protestors expressed their rage over recent events.
Catalans 1 – Riot police 0. pic.twitter.com/aJl9mrIOpL
— Catalans for Yes ? (@CatalansForYes) October 26, 2019
Without warning the police attacked the crowd but were pelted with bottles and cans forcing them to retreat again. When they returned in greater numbers driving there vans head on into the crowd they were still halted by protestors sitting in the road refusing to move. The standoff was still in full effect when we left.
Sunday October 27th
Today we joined the Picnic for the Republic group whom have organised many successful actions and blockades around Catalonia over the past two weeks.
They organise via a Telegram group and regularly close motorways and transport hubs. Today they were prevented from entering the main rail station by dozens of riot cops so instead went for an impromptu march towards the centra of town where a mixture of pro unionist marchers a fascists were participating in a Spanish government sponsored event.
Prevented from reaching the march itself they instead rallied at the local government building where a handful of fascists had gathered to cause trouble protected by dozens of riot cops. The fascists, some of whom were waving Franco era flags were drowned out by hundreds of people chanting: “Catalonia is anti fascist!”.
Monday October 28th
Tonight the committees for the Defence of the Republic (CDR) called a protest at the main Barcelona Railway station. This is part of an ongoing strategy to cost the state money and keep the human rights and political prisoners issue on the agenda.
The Mossos (Catalan Police) were out in force to prevent the demonstrators from entering the station in numbers which was effectively closed down by the protest. There were a few minor scuffles but no arrests or injuries while we were there. Activists quickly linked arms in certain places to prevent the police from infiltrating their protest.
This is the second day running that the station has been closed down and it looks like it will continue to be a regular target for campaigners pressuring the local and national government.
Tuesday October 29th
Today we interviewed one of the students leaders about the strategy behind the permanent strike that has been called in solidarity with prisoners and against the state repression. Young people are at the very heart of what is going on here and as you can see from the interview she explains how their grievances go far deeper than just recent events since the jailing of the politicians.
Wednesday October 30th
As students start an indefinite strike, at the same time a resistance camp is set up in Placa de la Universitat in front of the main university until their demands are met, which quickly spills out onto the surrounding roads.
The students are not only demanding the freeing the political prisoners and an end to police violence and repression, but also for a future for youth – high university fees are making it virtually impossible to get an education for working class kids, and youth unemployment currently stands at 25%. So this is turning into a struggle not just for basic human rights, but against cuts, austerity and for a better world.