Spain: Police repression against protestors in Valencia

Movement will not be broken by brute force!

Yesterday, police armed with batons attacked protestors in Valencia, as hundreds of ’indignados’ greeted the first sitting of the new autonomous parliament with a lively protest to remind the newly elected PP regional government that “no nos representan!” (they don’t represent us!). Latest reports indicate that dozens of protestors were injured, some seriously and 5 were arrested. Today also saw a police offensive in Santiago de Compostela, in Galicia, where several more were injured. Photographs and videos from the scene expose police claims that protestors “began the violence” as lies.

These attacks may represent a “testing” of the situation on the part of the capitalist state, which awaits with fervour the “end” of the current youth revolt. The PSOE government and their kin in the new PP or nationalist regional and local governments hope that the movement has now reached a stage where they can get away with repression to snuff it out. But as was shown when they last tried to “test” the vitality of the movement, with the brutal attempt to dislodge the Barcelona “acampada” on 27 May, the power of this movement is greater that that of intimidation and beatings. The movement, which represents the explosion onto the scene of a generation thrown on the scrapheap, often with nothing to lose, has no plans to fade away.

Perhaps the authorities perceived that the recent agreement at the Puerta del Sol, the birthplace of the plaza occupation movement, to end the permanent camp there next Sunday, was a sign of the movement’s weakness. However, the dismantling of the camps by the movement has no hint of defeat or surrender. Assemblies of the movement have sunk roots in the barrios of Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla and other major cities. The movement has, despite the absence of a fully efffective democratic structure on a state-wide level, adopted a positive programme of action. An important day of protest is planned for 11 June, when most new local governments begin session. 15 June will see a huge Catalunya-wide demo in Barcelona, when cuts will be voted on in the Catalan parliament, and as the Greek workers and youth engage in a general strike. 19 June will be a day of massive protests on a state-wide level, as well as mark the beginning of a month-long “march to Madrid” from towns across the country. If the violence by police yesterday is a prelude to a frontal assault on any of these days of significant upswing in the movement, then the establishment could live to regret it.

The movement must meet any big state offensive with an offensive of its own. Whilst not responding to police provocations and maintaining a non-violent strategy, measures to defend future protests from state agression, including the organised stewarding of demonstrations, should be taken. The current programme to take the movement forward must be built upon, the movement widened-out, assemblies extended to workplaces to plan and fight for a new general strike. Socialismo Revolucionario also calls for the urgent adoption of a democratic structuring of the movement in all cities, with barrio and workplace assemblies electing representatives to city assemblies and state-wide assemblies to adopt such a plan of struggle. “This is what their democracy looks like” chanted the protestors in the face of the police charge in Valencia. We fight for a genuine democracy in which the power is held by the majority instead of the markets and big capital.

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June 2011