¡Casablanca Vive!

In Madrid, Spain on 12 October 2012 at 19:53

October 12, 2230 hrs.

Dear people,

Columbus day in Spain is known as the ‘Day of Spanishness’. It’s celebrated with a military parade over the boulevards near congress, and it’s the perfect thing to parody.

Thus, a peace parade was organised to celebrate the ‘Day of the Native Peoples’. It started with a popular lunch on the Opera square, with native food from the Americas, followed by a fancy dress party in all the colours of peace. Police were there, they moved to identify all participants.

I didn’t witness the parade, because there was another event at the same time which promised to be interesting. A concentration on the central square of Lavapiès to protest against the eviction of Casablanca social centre last month and to reclaim access to the Library and the Archive of the Acampada Sol stored there.

It wasn’t widely publicised. And there was a reason for that. Underground voices were saying it was a cover. The true motive of the call was to reoccupy the place.

And so it was. It became a perfectly orchestrated celebratory action. The peace parade served as a diversion. Police didn’t suspect a thing. We went marching there with a drum band playing happy revolutionary tunes. In the meantime, a commando squad had already entered the place. When we walked up to the building they stepped out on the balconies and to the crowd’s delight they launched a giant banner which rebaptised the place as Magerit Occupied Social Centre.

There were a few hundred people out on the street cheering. In a few minutes a police car arrives. After ten minutes there are three police vans with a couple of dozen riot police. People form a chain outside the building to protect it. They chant. “One eviction, another occupation!” became “One eviction, the same occupation!”. They keep on chanting. The crowd grows. Police don’t know what to do. Finally they leave and people stage a victory party.

When they evicted the Casablanca last month, it was without judicial consent, and as such, illegal. Maybe next time authorities will think first before they act.

Live news from the inside is that the library is all there. It used to be 4000 volumes during the acampada. Now it’s ten thousand. I have no news about the state and presence of the banners and artworks at the moment.

The bad news is another. Since a couple of days the Spanish government changed the penal code. In the face of current social unrest, they have raised penalties for resistance against authority. Inspired – maybe – by Obama’s NDAA, they have opened the doors for indefinite detention. And, most dangerous of all, it aims to criminalise internet activism.

Up to a year of prison for people who call for illegal demonstrations through social networks.

The time has come for all of us to put on a Guy Fawkes mask.

“We are Anonymous. We are Legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us.”

Check out the images.


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