At least 36 people have been injured after Spanish policed dispersed thousands of protesters blockading the first day of the Catalan Parliament in Barcelona. The regional government is set to pass many measures that will cut spending to social services by up to 10 percent. The protests are a continuation of the M-15 movement, which is demanding a more participatory democracy and social justice. Late on Tuesday afternoon, June 14th, the police forcibly evicted hundreds of people from the public park, where protests were planning to camp. However, the people remained there, and a massive popular assembly of several thousand was held at the gates.
The gathering started last night and barricades we constructe blocking all entrances to the builiding. Early Wednesday morning police officers dispersed them blockading by force using rubber bullets, after many politicians, however acknowledging the right to protest, asked for their own legitimate right to work. The indignados, however, remained oblivious, and many stated that they would not let them pass, that they could go away or joing them. Even though the police tried to escort the legistlators safely into Parliament, the direct approach by many of them brought local outbursts of violence: objects such as banana peals were thrown, some of them were painted with spray paint and all of them were thouroughly insulted. As the violence grew, police decided to transport the remaining politicians by helicopter, twenty five of them arrived in this fashion, including the President to the chamber, Artur Mas. All the official sites for the movement have condemmed the violent actinos carried out in Barcelona, saying that they wish to remind the general public that these were only a few individuals and that they do not represent the movement as a whole. Some even went as far as to say that they would be willing to cooperate with the authorities to detain these individuals. On Twitter, many users present suggested the possibility that these people were secret police, infiltrated to cause the violence (such things have happened before, most notably during the Egyptian revolution in February). One particular user @sergio_aloud stated that while this was happening, he told the police to arrest the people throwing objects and that they inexplicably denied to do so. None of these theories have been confirmed.
After all the MPs entered and the session started (many were not present and it is an important day, as the budgets will be debated) police started to disperse the protest. This happened in a violent way, although perhaps it was less so than last time in Plaza Catalunya (link here). What did not change is that riot police officers were not wearing identification numbers, as the law states they must, making protesters shout: “This is a dictatorship, without identification you are paramilitary forces!”. The barricades have been reconstructed and expanding to the surrounding streets, but now the protesters are trying to block the politicians inside the parliament. Thousands remain and are chanting “they don’t represent us” and ¨Real democracy Now¨. All exits are currently blocked (4pm) and the politicians are not able to leave the parliament. Artur Mas, chamber President, has threatened the protestors from inside the building, saying that if they don´t cooperate he will make “legitimate use of force” after assuring that protesters have “crossed the red line”. All parties involved in the Catalan Parliament, including the smaller ones with similar interests toward the movement, have condemmed today´s events.