martedì 17 aprile 2012

Support statement for general strike arrestees in Barcelona

Translated from Catalan

“When the politicians are afraid of losing every last scrap of legitimacy, they will repress without scruples, when thousands of people confront their misery, they will criminalize them in the media apply punitive measures, violating the principles of their own laws.”

Since the 29th of March, three people have been in preventive detention. One of these, Javi, was arrested in the morning as he participated in an informative picket in the Clot neighborhood, while Isma and Dani were arrested in a picket in Zona Universitària.

During the entire day of protest against the labor reform and the cutbacks, 56 arrests were carried out in Barcelona, making a total of 79 in all Catalunya. Some of those arrested were released on provisional liberty with charges after having to post bails of 3000 or 4000 euros, and some of these will have to report in at court every two weeks, weekly, or twice a week. There are also those who suffered heavy beatings at the hands of the police while locked up. One youth, for example, was released from the police station early in the morning with a broken femur, without any money or telephone, and another two who had to have their spleens removed due to the punches and kicks given to them by the mossos [Catalan police].

We also cannot forget the hundred injuries caused by police brutality, carried out once again by the mossos. We should keep in mind that 20 people were injured by rubber bullets alone, one of whom was a 4-year-old child and two of whom lost eyes. The media have taken it upon themselves from the very beginning to stigmatize the strikers and legitimize the actions of the police: the beatings, the use of rubber bullets, and even the return of tear gas [not used in Catalunya in 16 years]. Every step of the way they are avoiding the debate about why thousands of people took the streets to participate in the general strike. They seek to confuse us and divide us while sowing fear, but those of us who came out that day, and we are many, have experienced our collective strength and we won't forget it. The 29th of March the streets were ours, and even though the first detentions occurred in the early morning, the day of struggle went forward. Despite the repression and the police violence, for many of us the day of struggle was positive, in sum: the routes of access into Barcelona were cut, many businesses closed, hundreds of thousands of people did not go to work, many also carried out a consumption strike and created a massive presence in the streets.

Now that three people are in prison and we are fighting for their liberation, we remember that we decided to go on strike because we were and are tired of the fact that a small minority governs us by imposing rules unilaterally and top-down. From the privatization of healthcare and education, to the evictions of those who cannot pay their rent or mortgage, to the new labor reform that permits such aberrations as firing someone for being sick, the end of collective bargaining, or the unhindered application of EROs... Every day they squeeze us drier, but each time they fool us less.

Juridically, it cannot be justified to deprive someone of their liberty for public disorder. These situations clarify how “Justice” functions and who controls it. [Interior Minister] Felip Puig, with his proclamations and threats to restrict the right of assembly, harshen the penal code and encourage public snitching, along with the state government [in Madrid] and its measures to extend antiterrorist legislation to include acts of urban vandalism, show us that the laws are political tools. The decision to imprison Javi, Isma, and Dani does not correspond to the legal aspects of the case but to a concrete interest in paralyzing the protests. The same attitude was displayed on Monday, April 2, during the demonstration in support of the imprisoned and detained, when the mossos arrested a differently abled man, leaving his wheelchair in the street, and releasing him the next morning with charges of public disorder.
Isolation and threats have no place in the enthusiasm for finding each other.
Precarity will lose its weight when we practice mutual aid.
The austerity measures reaffirm our practice of self-organization.
The repression, even the imprisonment of our comrades, will not stop as as long as our point of departure is:
Support Group for Javi of Clot

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