Hello from Barcelona,
this is the weekly newsletter that will inform you about the activities of 15M movement in Barcelona, Catalonia and occasionally the main events in Spain. If you do not wish to receive it anymore, please say so.
1. The Government won’t pay, the NGOs occupy
2. Saturday June 30th: Protest MAdness takes over Barcelona!
3. The IT crowd fight for their rights
4. A human chain around a hospital to defend the public health care system
5. Syrians in Barcelona Demonstrate for their people’s freedom, dignity and democracy
1) THE GOVERNMENT WON’T PAY, THE NGOs OCCUPY!
On Thursday June 28th a group of 80 people from several NGOs occupied during 18h the Catalan Agency for Developent Cooperation office to urge the government to hold a public commitment in two directions:
- Paying what they owe to the NGOs, 15 Milion € invested in projects in South and Center America and Africa, and
- Rectification in the destruction of international cooperation’s public policy.
Meanwhile, 200 people were showing their support outdoors, stopping he traffic of one of the main streets in the center of the town. The condition to abandon the occupation was having an interview with two members of the Catalan government to announce the change of direction of the agency’s policy and the resignation of Llorens (General Director of Catalan Cooperation)
“The situation these last months had become unbearable” said one of the activists inside. The NGOs had started the projects on their own or were forced to borrow money, waiting for the agency funds to cover the investment. Most of the projects have had to be stopped and some NGO’s got into debt. Besides, and to make things worse, the Government announced a budget cut of 84% in cooperation, going back to levels of 2001.
During the 18 hours of occupatiion, the tension inside the building increased: the police didn’t allow the activists to use the toilet and no food or water could be given to them. Besides, the air conditioning system was stopped and the temperature was rising inside. Even the Red Cross had problems to access the building in order to watch the situation of the people inside. From time to time, when the door was opened for any reason some activists from outside would throw water bottles inside. It got to a point where two members of the Catalan parliament negotiated to enter food and water for the activists when they went to speak with them. The police offered an agreement of not evicting the place if they were leaving at 7 am next morning. Althought they were tired, they refused the offer: “·We came here to talk to a representative of the government and we’re not leaving before it’s done”.
The situation got tense when, around 9pm, a group of policemen from inside went out and started provoking the supporters who were still protesting in the street. One of them pricked the people who were around the main entrance with a pencil (
. Meanwhile the people outside were organizing themselves to spend the night there by creating three shifts for different time gaps.
Around 4 a.m. the riot police forced the people to abandon the place, dragging them out one after another. Only in extra-payments, the police intervention cost around 8000 euros, just because no representative of the government wanted to meet and listen to them.
The NGO workers and activists have not achieved their main objectives this time. They have announced there will be more actions in the near future.
- Catalan Federation of NGOs for development: Open letter to the Catalan president [CAT]
- Statements from people affected by the end of social programs [SP]
In the press:
- NGOs demand the Catalan Government to pay the 15,000,000€ it owes them [SP]
- The Mossos evict Catalan NGO workers during the night [SP]
- Interview to an activist inside the building [SP, EN subtitles]
- Summary in English [EN]
- Summary in Spanish [SP]
- Attempts of negotiation with the police to give water and food to the occupants [SP]
- Concentration in the street and communication with the occupants through the window, after 11 hours of sit-in and counting
- Concentration in the street, clapping hands to keep up the spirits
- Back door
Twitter HT: #Masnopaga
2) SATURDAY JUNE 30TH: PROTEST MADNESS TAKES OVER BARCELONA!
We have become used to big, massive marches and now anything under 2,000 people is small, and anything under 500 seems a failure. But on Saturday 30th Barcelona lived a day of distributed, parallel protests, proving that it is also very efficient to demonstrate in different areas in the city at the same time. The worst part was for people to make their minds up to which protests they’d support!
Saturday morning saw three actions starting at 11:30h:
- The IT workers started a demo standing up for their workers’ rights, downtown by the Cathedral. Poster ; More info in this NL, section 3.
- Health care activists formed a human chain around one of the biggest hospitals in Barcelona, which has 400 rooms closed down due to budget cuts. Poster ; More info in this NL, section 4.
- The anti-repression group Rereguarda en Moviment (see NL #18, 1 ) held a series of talks and debates on repression and budget cuts at Can Batlló, an occupied industrial building where 15M activists and independent media are carrying out several projects. Poster ; More info [CAT]
The afternoon had another set of three parallel actions:
- At 18:00h, Plaça Catalunya -symbol of activism in Barcelona since the 15M movement started- a demo in support of Syrian people’s freedom and dignity set off, to march downtown. Poster ; More info in this NL, section 5.
- Also at 18:00h the union of people who work cleaning homes or caring the elderly, SINDIHOGAR, gathered at Sant Jaume square, where the Town Hall and local government are, to protest about their work conditions and a new law that will suppose many of them losing their jobs. They also have an associated problem: many women work in this kind of jobs, speciallyimmigrants who don’t have work permits, and therefore have trouble to claim their rights. Organisations who fight for immigrants’ rights and the 15M feminist group also supported this protest. Poster ; More info [CAT]
- Finally, the indignant sector of Gay, Lesbian Transexual, Bisexual, intersexual and Queer activists had a demonstration against making homosexuality become a new fashion to be consumed by trendy people, instead of a chce of life and a fight for their rights. The demo had a motto: Ni un pas enrerre! Les llibertats i els drets no es toquen (Never step back! Freedoms and rights can’t be withdrawn). The twitter hashtag, though, refered to the mrchantilization of gay culture: #putoPride (fuckPride), referring to the huge party floats that the Gay Pride parade have become. The official Pride parade was on Sunday. Poster ; Streaming [SP]
You will find further info on three of these actions in this newsletter.
3) THE IT CROWD FIGHT FOR THEIR RIGHTS
Sarturday, June 30th was the first time IT workers in Spain marched in a demo and fighting for their rights. Programmers, technicians, admins… decided it was time for a coordinated march in Barcelona, Madrid and Zaragoza.
It is surprising how people think “working with computers” is a guarantee of a good salary and safe job, while in Spain IT guys and girls are usually subcontracted by IT consulting firms, known commonly in the field as “butcher shops” because of the way the treat higly prepared specialists. They are forced to work more hours than agreed, to switch from one company to another, to keep quiet or they will be punished. At the links section below there si an interview with a guy who has been punished for fighting for his rights at AtoS, the company that is in charge of the techie side of the Olympic Games in London… whle dismissing people in Spain!
The demos were not huge, but hey were the starting point to organize, protest and fight for their rights. It is only the beginning. They are already planning further actions.
”If the IT sector stops, the system will shut down”
- IT demonstration in BCN (with interviews) [SP]
- Interview: An IT worker explains the situation in Spain [SP]
- Starting the demo
Twitter: @Informatica_CGT HT #Mani30j
4) A HUMAN CHAIN AROUND A HOSPITAL TO DEFEND THE PUBLIC HEALTH CARE SYSTEM
Vall d’Hebron is one of the main hospitals in Barcelona. It is also the one which has had more budget cuts in all the area, closing 400 rooms last summer and expecting to close 121 this summer… and 39 operating rooms!. For this reason the Users Platform, that unites workers, users, neighbourhood platforms and 15M groups, decided to perform a human chain around the hospital on June 30th. Hundreds attended, coming to the hospital in columns from several Primary Health Centers.
“The Public Health Care system is being under attack” claims the platform, which, as many other platforms and associations, sees in the government’s movements the steps towards privatization: the decrease in operating rooms in hospitals have the consequence of an increase of the time people have to wait to get operated, and the closure of many services in Primary Attention Centers (CAP) such as emergencies or specialities are increasing the amount of work for hospitals where, at the same time, a lot of doctor’s offices and services are being closed.
Their demands are focused on 4 points:
- The hospital must work at 100%, so they must open the operating rooms, patient rooms and doctor offices that have been closed
- It is necessary to ensure a budget to keep the hospital working
- Transparent management
- The creation of a Council of Users.
Among other collectives in the human chain, we could see the platform “Papers and rights for everyone”, a group that focuses on immigrants’ rights, and was expressing their fight against the new law that will mean the end of health care for migrants without legal papers, a clear racist discrimination.
In the press:
- Human chain against budget cuts in health [SP]
- Human chain against budget cuts in Vall d’Hebron [SP]
Twitter: @Dempeus HT: #CadenaVH
5) SYRIANS IN BARCELONA DEMONSTRATE FOR THEIR PEOPLE’S FREEDOM, DIGNITY AND DEMOCRACY
On May 20th, the Syrian-Catalan association for freedom and democracy took to the streets in the center of Barcelona, setting off at the symbolic center of activism which is Plaça Catalunya and demonstrating along several streets downtown. Syrians living in Catalunya, Catalans and people from elswhere marched united, showing their support to Syrian people and the situation they are living there, where a masacre is being commited by the dictator Bahar Al Assad’s government. Syrians are asking for the basic rights of every human being: freedom, dignity and democracy.
From Barcelona they’re demanding Bashar to stop this massive civil crime so they can have a free and democratic country as well as calling Europe and the world for do not keep silence about that.
Crimes commited by Al Assad, in figures:
- Syrians killed: 18,065
- Children killed: 1,372
- Females killed: 1,331
- Soldiers killed: 1,439
- Protestors killed under torture: 699
- Missing: +65,000
- Protestors currently imprisoned: +212,000
- Syrian refugees since March: +54,164
- Refugees in Turkey: 24,564
- Refugees in Lebanon: +24,000
- Refugees in Jordan: +5,600
Many Syrians, even though living in Catalunya, are afraid to demonstrate: there are many informers giving reports from here to the Syrian government, and the consequences of attending a demo against the dictatorship might be a banning from going back to their country, for instance. But those in the association will keep demonstrating every other Saturday, to try to give visibility to what is happening in Syria under the silent watch of the rest of the world.
Syrian associations in Catalunya: