This is a translation of an article published in El País, Spain’s most read newspaper. Spanish version here.
(Against the backdrop of the summer exodus and with malicious intent)
Under the cover, so to speak, afforded by its semi-deserted summer streets, and with malicious intent, Madrid was recently the scene of police episodes for which the rule of law should now provide citizens with a full explanation, including investigation of those directly responsible. It is awful that malicious intent must be taken as a given when referring to the actions of certain forces, especially security forces; however, in this instance, the peak summer holiday period was viewed as an ideal moment by the instigators who primed and unleashed the baton wielders and ordered the charges on people it is their job to protect. But they failed to realise that indignation is not seasonal and that, while Madrid might be half-empty in early August, the chalice of outrage remains full to the brim. You good people of the interior ministry had doubtless expected that everyone would be at the beach because the indignados keeping watch in the capital had not formed part of your calculations: some things and people, however, do not just disappear during the summer holiday season.
Who decided to use pushing and stamping to uproot the Paseo del Prado camp and smash up the jointly-agreed information point on a Puerta del Sol square which is ours by right and has become a global symbol for a new system? Who elected to use force to close off the square’s access points, in an unprecedented action the legality of which has even been challenged by a police union? Who took the decision to close the local shops – was it perhaps Ignacio Lario, chairperson of the local traders’ association, which is demanding multi-million euro compensation and pushing for use of force by the police? Who issued the order for the riot squad to employ disproportionate aggressiveness against a target of this type? Camacho and Gallardón? Rubalcaba (where is Zapatero?)? Rouco Varela too?
Now we know that repression of the 15 M citizens’ movement is linked to the Pope’s Madrid visit
An indignant Vatican dimension must be mentioned alongside the malicious intent and foil of summer aspects to the operation, because practically everyone will be aware that with Ratzinger due to arrive in Madrid on August 16 this operation was inversely proportional to the clean-up which the Catalan regional police force executed in Plaza de Catalunya in Barcelona, supposedly due to a football match: if we knew then that it had nothing to do with football and everything to do with repression of 15 M, we know now that the Madrid operation was undertaken because the popemobile is on its way. But, hang on a minute. What is this all about? What are you up to? The indignados were only using public space to protest against systematic abuses of established power by sitting on the ground in assemblies, seeking to find their conscience, sense of togetherness, their voice and their will. Those in charge of the cavalry decided to quash them in order to clear the way for a head of state ridiculous in its navel-gazing and guilty of crimes that even a banana republic would not be allowed to commit.
It would appear that these public authorities abusively represented by the likes of Gallardón, Camacho, Rubalcaba and Rouco Varela fail to perceive that their ancien régime is yesterday’s news, which no one even wants on archive because truthful information is transported by other networks. They cannot understand that our era no longer goes under their name because it is, and will be, the era of Anonymous. Or maybe they do understand, but they act in this way because they feel and note that their time is up.
Can’t you see that you are on your last legs precisely because you behave like that, because you repress, are violent, and abuse your power. Real fools. Millions of euros of public money to receive the Pope? From a public purse which remains unable to fund social services in a country afflicted by the cutbacks which such a profound crisis entails? If Jesus Christ returned to gaze upon this he would be furious with money-lenders of this ilk. Millions of euros to welcome a homophobe guy in connivance with dangerous paedophiles? Have we all gone stark raving bonkers? And in order to cap this scandal they bring their squadrons onto the streets, in a kind of razzia in support of Ratzinger which rightly offends the pure of heart and the indignados. A real warlike attitude. Citizens are prevented from taking to the square to try to right your serious wrongs but you are free to install 200 confessionals in the Retiro park? Come again!!?? Confessional boxes? Pull the other one! Real provocation.
El País, 8/5/2011