BARCELONA #15M Newsletter nr 37

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. Alfon is free, Alfon is innocent…
2. Rebel, fearless grannies know their rights
3. No more fascism in Greece, nor here, nor anywhere! #19J International Day Against Fascism

1. ALFON IS FREE, ALFON IS INNOCENT

The 21-year-old Alfon, from a working class neighbourhood in Madrid called Vallecas, was arrested by the secret police during the 14N general strike, together with his girlfriend Daria. It happened when he was leaving home in the morning heading to his aunt’s house to pick her up and participate in a picket, as they always do during strikes. The arrest was under the charges of  posessing explosives.

After 48 hours in the detention office, and the search of his house, his girlfriend’s house and the headquarters of Bukaneros, a Rayo Vallecano football team -related association which Alfon belongs to, the judge determined preventive prison for him, but released her.

There are several irregularities in this arrest.
First: Alfon denies that the bag where the explosives were found is his, and he declared that the policeman had it hidden in some plants near where he was arrested, using it to set a story up to involve him. As the bag has no finger prints and no gloves where found in his bag or in any of the places they’ve searched, the only proof is the policeman’s word. Alfon and his mother are well known activists for social rights in the neighbourhood, and he is also carrying out some social struggles through several youth movements. He thinks that he is only a scapegoat to frighten people and stop them from fighting for their rights.

Second, both Alfon and his girlfriend claim they had been psychologically tortured, as they were interrogated by men with their heads covered, being insulted, threatened, and humiliated.

Besides this, there were irregularities in the court process too. First, the judge on duty declared preventive prision because of “social alarm”, a figure which does not even exist in the current Spanish law. When Alfon’s lawyer pointed that out and asked for his release, the Provincial Audience changed the criteria to risk of escape. Since then, the lawyer tried to prove that he is settled down, he has a job which he shares with his father and a known home, and therefore the risk of scape shouldn’t be applied, so he must be set free.
Alfon spent nearly two months in jail under the regime FIES 5 which is known as a “jail  inside the jail”: all communications are watched, letters don’t arrive to prisoners, they  can only have a few family visits and they are continously transferred and changed from one cell to another.

All this information started to fill the Internet very soon, thanks to the family support and the Platform Alfon Libertad  (Freedom for Alfon). Hundreds of support acts where carried out, starting from his neighbourhood, Vallecas, and spreading around the country and even abroad. As the strike where Alfon had been arrested was an international day of unrest, people all over Europe heard of how Alfon was the only person still arrested fir the 14N strike days, weeks and almost two months after. Concerts, concentrations, conferences, public people declarations by musicians or members of the Parliament and other local governments happened continuously, all of them demanding his freedom and the end of police setups.

A big day of international call happened on December the 28th when the Platform Alfon Libertad made an international call for solidarity. In Spain it was followed by more than 30 cities. In Barcelona it took place in front of the Government Delegation.

Alfon was finally released on January 9th, with a crowd of friends, family and fellow activists waiting for him. Now they have a pending question: the struggle to demonstrate his innocence.

 LINKS:

Interviews   

Articles

Streaming and videos

Pictures

 TWITTER
Accounts @alfon_libertad
HT #alfonlibertad  #alfonlibre
Rebelmouse by @15Mbcn_int

 

2. REBEL, FEARLESS GRANNIES KNOW THEIR RIGHTS

Friday morning, January 18th, the iaioflautas (elder activists) took to the streets again.
This time they were claiming rights and freedom for the citizens.

They arrived at the Col·legi d’Advocats (ICAB – Barcelona Lawyers Guild) to present their Manifesto, where we can read that, considering that:

“the economic recession is bringing thousands of families to poverty; the laws promoted by the Government to overcome recession are harmful to the disadvanteged people; all the social protests have been legitimate and pacific; the Government faced those prostests by all kinds of repression, fines, violence and lack of freedom; the penal code is going to be modified in order to criminalize pacific protests and its diffusion through social networks”
We claim:
“1.The cease of all indiscriminate police violence directed against the civilian population, and especially the use of rubber bullets and tear gas by riot police; 2.The cessation of the draft for the Penal Code reform promoted by the Ministry of Justice”

Citizens and collectives can sign to support this manifesto

At the Col·legi there were also representatives of the main catalan unions, all the parties of the parlamentary left and several platforms and collectives. Before reading the Manifesto a lawyer from the ICAB’s commission of defence introduced the idea that civil resistence is not going against the law, but against those who are violating the law and our rights, being  civil disobedience a right initself.

On their march to the Col·legi the grannies and grandpas had a stop at the Department of Justice to show their disapproval to the accusation of “resistance to authority” one of them received on October 27th, who, when stopped during an action, refused to identify himself.

January 22nd was the day he had to go to court, and many elder activists collectives  in Spain showed their solidarity with protests: in Madrid – on a very cold and rainy day – the iaioflautas went to talk to the ombudsman and read the Manifesto; in Murcia they presented the Manifesto to  the Law Court; in Valencia they carried out a protest meeting in front of the courthouse; in Castellón they delivered the Manifesto to the Chairman at the City of Justice.

In Barcelona they went to court with their comrade (who was asked to pay a fine and now the judge must decide if he has to or not), then with the PAH (Platform of those affected by the mortgage,  NL#19, 4   ) to deliver the ILP signature collection (NL#36, 1 ) at the congressman’s office of the Catalan Government, and finally they had a meeting with the ombudsman, where they showed their concern about the criminalization of the pacific protest and the increasing police violence – as shown on a DVD they delivered, with their Manifesto, to the ombudsman.

LINKS

Articles

Videos and Photos

TWITTER
Accounts: @iaioflautas (Barcelona) @yayoflautas (Madrid) @iaioflautasmur (Murcia) @iaioflautasvale (Valencia)
HT: #iaioflautasSinMiedo #IaioflautasAJudici

 

3. NO MORE FASCISM IN GREECE, NOR HERE, NOR ANYWHERE! #19J INTERNATIONAL DAY AGAINST FASCISM

January 19th was a very important day everyone – people and movements – who fights against racism and fascism: there was an international call to demonstrate and protest against the rise of fascism in Europe, coming from Greece.

Why was it Greece who called for it? Because -  as we can read in the open letter that a group of 100 artists and academics signed in December  and in the initial declaration for the 19J -after the neo-nazi party Golden Down entered the Parliament, racism has increased spectacularly in Greece. Fascist attacks are not only growing in the streets, with the episodes of violence against immigrants, leftists, anarchists, trade unionists, gypsies, gays and anyone who is considered “different” by neo-nazis groups, often ignored or helped by the police, but also the political agenda seems to follow a fascist drift, as the new law for immigration leaves out social and public services for the children of the immigrants, even if they are born in Greece: Thousands of children who are studying in schools are deemed illegal once they turn 18 and are asked to go back to the country of their parents, where they have never been themselves. Besides this, the manifesto claims that austerity measures taken by the government give the environment for these nazi groups to grow.

“We cannot tolerate the rich and the government that sows poverty and deprivation, leads to suicides, sends homeless to queue at soup kitchens putting the blame for the crisis on immigrants, turning them to scapegoats, just like Hitler blamed the Jews for everything”
“We cannot accept [Minister of Public Order] Dendias’ police attacking strikes and demonstrations with tons of chemicals and extending a hand of cooperation to the Neo-nazi assault squads of Golden Dawn, organizing racist pogroms in the neighbourhoods with stabbings of immigrants, destruction of shops and house intrusions”

Seeking for a global answer to this fascist rise, came the international call:
“Against the midnight of Golden Dawn and the politics that feed it, we draw hope and optimism from the shafts of resistance (…) every lonely act of resistance – in a bus, a public space or a park – against the Nazi gloom, is giving us strength for the battle ahead (…)19 of January is your chance to cry out! Can we concentrate the many scattered acts of resistance in one day of massive action against the fascist threat? We say yes. This is why we begin the movement for 19 January – to unite all the different forces who want to fight fascism (…) a massive movement that will push back the neo-Nazi gang of Golden Dawn and finally drive them where they belong – into the sewer of history”

Dozens of cities all around the world show their solidarity and their concern for the renewed wave of racism that goes through Europe: Paris, Dublin, Praha, Berlin, London, Bristol, Edinburgh, Lyon, Brussels, Copenhagen, Tampere, Viena, Warsow, Oslo and outside Europe: New York, Moscow, Montreal, Chicago, Toronto, Sydney, Buenos Aires protested in front of greek embassies and diplomatic offices.
Solidarity has also been showed with Villa Amalias, the oldest and one of the most active anarchist squats of Athens, evicted by police at the beginning of January and considered as an attack by governmental fascism.

In Catalonia not only Barcelona, but also Ripollet, Ossona y Manresa showed their solidarity.
In Barcelona the collective Unitat contra el feixisme y el racisme (Unity against fascism and racism) joined the international anti-fascism day, making a local call in solidarity, using the motto “no more fascism, not in Greece, nor here, nor anywhere else” . Around a hundred people met in the Paseo de Gracia, a famous commercial street of Barcelona where the European Union has its representative office. Some representatives of anti-fascist collectives gave a short talk, describing the alarming situation emerging also in Catalunya, and expressing the emergency of a strong anti-fascist reply.
Indeed, besides the continuous complaints that the Spanish 15M movement makes about police repression an brutality, and the attempts to change the laws in the direction of limitation of freedom and discrimination, we are also seeing a rise in cases of street violence with a racist fingerprint, and racist political parties such as Plataforma per Catalunya trying to blame immigrants for the Spanish -or Catalan- recession.

In a clear case of institucional racism using austerity as an excuse, a change in the terms of the Spanish National Health System (Seguridad Social) has meant that immigrants with no work permit cannot go to their doctors any more, unless they are lucky enough to be attended by one of the many objectors to what is known in Spain as the Health Apartheid (Apartheid sanitario). Not only activists and citizens in general have protested, but also certain autonomous communities are resisting against this new procedure and keep taking care of immigrants, arguing epidemiological benefits as a way to maintain the universal health service.

Finally, Barcelona has been historically an anti-fascist city, yet there are groups of skinheads and other neofascists that turn up every now and then to spread fear among immigrants mainly, though years ago it was against left-wing or independentist youths. These last few weeks there have been too many attacks in downtown Barcelona, with groups of skinheads prancing around the Raval -where a high percentage of neighbours are immigrants- and the police doesn’t seem to worry. Unitat contra el feixisme i el racisme is calling for a protest on February 5th for these racist attacks in Raval, and specially for the vicious attack suffered by a 14-year-old boy of Indian origin on January 7th.

“In the history of fascism, the struggle against it has hung between two moments: the “too early” and the “too late”. For those of us who sign this initiative, it is neither too early nor too late. The time to fight against fascism is now” (Artists’ declaration)

LINKS

Articles

Video, Streaming and Pictures

TWITTER and FACEBOOK
Account: @antifa19j
Rebelmouse @15Mbcn_int 
HT #19J #19jgr #antifa19Jan #19Jan #villa_ama
FB page of the event 

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