Tensions rising around Sol

In Madrid, Spain on 4 August 2011 at 14:55

Dear people,

Only days ago I was really thinking that things were about to calm down in Madrid. Most people of the marches had gone home. Summer was at its height. People had gone on holiday and the revolution was migrating to other countries.

Thankfully, every time things seem to calm down, the authorities give our movement a new impulse. This time by ordering the desalojo of Sol in view of the visit of the pope.

They took away our square and every night they block it from all sides to prevent us from reoccupying it. Of course, as anyone would understand, this only fuels the protest. If they just let us enter in Sol, we would stay calm, we wouldn’t make any trouble, and all the police officers could just go home and take a good night’s rest.

Now they are up every night. They need to defend parliament, they need to block Sol, and as a result the rest of the city is in the hands of the indignados.

Yesterday the protest started at Atocha. The demonstration was not only against the desalojo and the subsequent police occupation of Sol, but also against the eviction of a thirty year old gipsy camp at Puerta de Hierro.

I haven’t been there, at the camp. But it seems that police have started to destroy it because the terrain was bought by the president of Real Madrid, who wants to build luxury apartments there. Of course, in the current situation, where hundreds of thousands of people are at risk of being evicted from their tiny apartments and millions of houses are vacant, an action like this leads to protest.

The demonstration is pretty silent. It’s starting to become a tradition. First we pass by congress to sing to our comrades of the police for a while, and to throw up some balloons. Then we march over Cibeles and Gran Vía to Callao. From there on we descend on Sol.

It’s the second night in a row that we are barred from entering a public square. People are furious about that. And this time the tensions are rising. Jim and me are on the north side of Sol, close to the police barrier. We witness how the protest deteriorates. It’s not nice to see. At a certain point a man with a megaphone encourages people to walk ahead to take the square. In a situation like this, with such a big crowd, it is completely irresponsible. People could get crushed.

Police react to the provocation by pushing back the crowd. As far as I could see, they did not use their clubs, nor their guns, nor tear gas. But after that there is a small group of punks who hurl all kinds of obscenities to the police officers. I can’t stand that kind of behaviour. Many ‘ordinary people’ judge all the punks negatively on the basis of their appearance. But right here this small group of frustrated outcasts does exactly the same with the police.

Under those helmets, there are middle aged men and young people who would like to be comfortably at home right now. There is a woman among them in the first line. They are forced to listen to a handful of people who use the presence of the crowd to insult them. It makes me angry. We can count on a lot of goodwill among the police. It’s a strength of ours. We shouldn’t allow people to resort to violence, be it physical or verbal.

In the end the protest turns into a kind of witch hunt when two presumed secret agents are discovered, while they seem to be communicating through their thinly veiled head sets. They manage to flee into a bar, where they are filmed through the windows. Poor bastards, they are shaking like leaves as they take out their cell phones to call whomever they are reporting to.

Popular Assembly in Gran Vía

Jim and me have seen enough. This is not the best part of the movement protesting tonight. The true hart of the 15M is somewhere else, just up the street. They are holding an assembly in the middle of Gran Vía, blocking all the traffic. They decide on what square to take next. In the end people choose Plaza de Oriente, in front of the royal palace. Today will be another day of demonstration, departing from the palace, and going to Sol.

It’s two o’ clock at night. The moderator has saved the best for the last. A press release from one of the Police Unions. They accuse the delegate of the government in Madrid who ordered the eviction from Sol of disobeying the law. Not only, they offer their solidarity to the indignados. More on this in the next post. Stay tuned…



    « … C’est la deuxième nuit consécutive où nous sommes empêchés d’entrer dans une place publique. Les gens sont en colère. Et cette fois les tensions montent. Jim et moi sommes sur le côté nord de Sol, près de la barrière de police. Nous sommes témoins de la manière dont la manifestation se détériore. Ce n’est pas beau à voir. À un certain moment un homme avec un mégaphone encourage les gens à avancer pour prendre la place. Dans une situation comme celle-ci, avec une telle grande foule, il est totalement irresponsable. Les gens pouvaient se faire écraser.

    La police réagit à la provocation en repoussant la foule. Autant que j’ai pu voir, ils n’ont pas utilisé leurs clubs, ni leurs armes, ni de gaz lacrymogène. Mais après cela il ya un petit groupe de punks qui lancent toutes sortes d’obscénités aux policiers. Je ne supporte pas ce genre de comportement. Beaucoup de «gens ordinaires» juger tous les punks négativement sur la base de leur apparence. Mais ici ce petit groupe de parias frustrés fait exactement la même chose avec la police.

    Sous ces casques, il y a des hommes d’âge moyen et les jeunes qui auraient certainement préféré être confortablement à la maison en ce moment. Il y a une femme parmi eux dans la première ligne. Ils sont forcés d’écouter une poignée de personnes qui profitent de la présence de la foule pour les insulter. Ca me met en colère. Nous pouvons compter sur beaucoup de bonne volonté parmi les policiers. C’est une force qui est le nôtre. Nous ne devrions pas permettre aux gens de recourir à la violence, qu’elle soit physique ou verbale.

    À la fin la manifestation se transforme en une sorte de chasse aux sorcières quand deux présumés agents secrets sont découverts, semble-t-il, en train de communiquer à travers les casques finement cachées. Ils parviennent à fuir dans un bar, où ils sont filmés à travers les fenêtres. Ils tremblent comme des feuilles en sortant leurs téléphones portables pour faire leur rapport à quelqu’un.

    Jim et moi avons assez vu. Ce n’est pas la meilleure partie du mouvement protestant ce soir. Le cœur véritable de la 15M est ailleurs, juste en haut de la rue. Ils tiennent une assemblée dans le milieu de la Gran Vía, bloquant tout le trafic. Ils décident quelle sera la prochaine place à prendre. En fin de compte les gens choisissent la Plaza de Oriente, en face du palais royal. Aujourd’hui sera un autre jour de la manifestation, au départ du palais, pour aller à Sol.

    Il est deux heures du matin. Le modérateur a gardé le meilleur pour la fin. Un communiqué de presse de l’un des syndicats de police (Police Union ?). Ils accusent le délégué du gouvernement de Madrid qui a ordonné l’expulsion de Sol de désobéir à la loi. Non seulement, ils se déclarent solidaires avec les ‘indignados’. Plus à ce sujet dans le prochain post. »

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