Sunday

3rd Jul 2022

Police crack down on Spanish anti-austerity camp

  • Burning the EU flag in Spain. Protesters echoed similar messages in Greece earlier this year (Photo: tom.tziros)

Police launched a morning crackdown on anti-austerity protesters camped out in the main square in the Catalan city of Barcelona on Friday (27 May).

According to eyewitnesses, riot police moved in to Placa de Catalunya between 7 and 8 am, firing rubber bullets, tear gas and baton-charging the protesters. Footage from the encampment shows police attacking peaceful demonstrators without prior provocation.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Some two individuals were arrested, with 46 injured and five admitted to hospital.

Protestors describing themselves as ‘los indignados', or the indignant ones - after the best-selling 2010 book Indignez-vous! (published in English as Time for Outrage) by 94-year-old celebrated French resistance fighter Stephane Hessel - have occupied the plaza in the Catalan capital since 15 May to display their indignation at the soaring levels of unemployment, political corruption and a system they say benefits the wealthy at the expense of others.

The encampment had grown to include its own infrastructure, with cooking facilities, soundsystems and even bookshops.

The police said that it was necessary to remove the encampment for sanitary reasons and to prevent unrest ahead of the Champions' League final football match between Manchester and Barcelona in Wembley on Saturday.

However, while the authorities were initially successful in clearing the area, protesters issued an appeal over social networks for people to come to the square to defend the camp. According to those present, the police were quickly outnumbered and the square has been retaken by protesters with a renewed sense of anger.

"The police were quite brutal. People were sitting down and the police just batoned them, but many more of us arrived, with Twitter, Facebook, text messages calling people to Placa Catalunya," Oscar Reyes, one of the campers, told EUobserver.

"Whether they planned to or not, the police have retreated for now," he added.

"I think the police don't know what to do. They did manage to clear the square, but then they let people back and now there's a genuine felling of, well, indignation."

The Indignados have begun to rebuild the camp, and plans are afoot to spread the movement to different neighbourhoods across the city.

Meanwhile the so-called ‘Indignant' movement, which rapidly spread to Greece, was readying its third night of protests across the Hellenic republic.

Similar protests in Dublin and Cork in solidarity with the Spanish campers have also been announced for 2pm on Saturday.

Footage of police crackdown

Spanish Green MEP Raül Romeva i Rueda talks about about the Indignados

Green crime-fighting boss urgently required, key MEP says

The European Parliament approved last week a non-binding resolution on illegal logging, calling to extend the EU public prosecutor's mandate to also cover environmental crime. The lead MEP on the file has called for urgent implementation.

News in Brief

  1. EU Parliament 'photographs protesting interpreters'
  2. Poland still failing to meet EU judicial criteria
  3. Report: Polish president fishing for UN job
  4. Auditors raise alarm on EU Commission use of consultants
  5. Kaliningrad talks needed with Russia, says Polish PM
  6. Report: EU to curb state-backed foreign takeovers
  7. EU announces trade deal with New Zealand
  8. Russia threatens Norway over goods transit

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  4. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers for culture: Protect Ukraine’s cultural heritage!
  6. Reuters InstituteDigital News Report 2022

Latest News

  1. Nato's Madrid summit — key takeaways
  2. Czech presidency to fortify EU embrace of Ukraine
  3. Covid-profiting super rich should fight hunger, says UN food chief
  4. EU pollution and cancer — it doesn't have to be this way
  5. Israel smeared Palestinian activists, EU admits
  6. MEPs boycott awards over controversial sponsorship
  7. If Russia collapses — which states will break away?
  8. EU Parliament interpreters stage strike

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us