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Barcelona kids as human shields for Oct 1 referendum

category international | rights, freedoms and repression | news report author Saturday September 30, 2017 14:44author by iosaf mac diarmada Report this post to the editors

final opinion poll : 62% intend to vote 83% will vote yes to independent republic

October 1st, tomorrow at time of writing shall see the "illegal referendum on Catalan independence and conversion to a republic". On September 20th the central Spanish state launched an extraordinary campaign of intimidation and criminalisation. Ministers of the regional government were arrested. Printers were searched and ballot papers confiscated. Websites were closed down. 3 cruise liners hired by the Spanish state provide accommodation to police and paramilitary police drafted in to prevent voting, counting and disemination of information related to the referendum.
I shall later provide more information drawing on the wealth of archived articles on this node of indymedia which I hope and always hoped would explain the route from the fringe to centre of the process of Catalan self-determination. For the moment, the final opinion poll published today shows the intent of 63% of the enfranchised wish to vote & of those 83% will vote yes.
over 9 million ballot papers have been seized by Spanish police often with scant legality. Here I hold a handful. like many I distribute
over 9 million ballot papers have been seized by Spanish police often with scant legality. Here I hold a handful. like many I distribute

I shall be updating from this moment on until the end of this process. IF a majority of votes counted (it remains to be seen where and how they shall be counted) are in favour of an independent republic, a unilateral declaration of independence shall be made within 48 hours by the Catalan parliament. It remains to be seen where and how the Catalan parlament shall meet to make that declaration.

In the last few weeks, this process has gone far beyond nationalism. IT now touches the core European values of democracy and freedom from state repression.

I have just given the fourth interview to TV and Radio organisations in 3 days, ranging from Spanish national to Paris cable, interviews in English, Spanish, Catalan and French.

My experiences formed through 17 years living in Barcelona have suddenly become noteworthy. Just as my avowed honesty when describing my writing, texts and pirate radio broadcasts :- I have never claimed to be a journalist who searches for "two sides of the story" pretending to be a neutral observer. Most European news organisations having based their correspondents and coverage of Spanish state affairs in Madrid have made the grave error of underestimating the feeling of Catalans of their nationhood and difference.

They have subscribed to the notion that the referendum and process is deeply divisive.

62% of the enfranchised intend to vote
83% intend on voting YES.

I admit to the readers that this was not the case a month ago. The more the central Spanish state in the hands of the unionist, conservative and true heirs to Franco's technocratic final stage of fascism the PP ignored or worse demeaned legitimate complaints from Catalonia and criminalised not only Catalan independence groups, Republican groups but most recently left the alternative left and anarcho-syndicalist formations open to attack, the more the silent majority moved to supporting referendum and independence.

Revolution is in the air. I use no hyperbole. Imagine if your part of Ireland was still a part of the UK and planned on a referendum on independence which London declared illegal and then cruise liners of British police arrived at your ports to stop your vote and your balllot papers were confiscated and your websites and google apps closed.......

Would you on a Friday evening occupy your local school without complain from local police or authorities with your chilren and use your children as a human shield to guarantee democracy and more the human right to express politcal opinion in any media and form peaceful assembly????

'Think about it honestly and frankly. Ask yourself how many of your neighbours in your town of Ireland or suburb of Dublin would do such a thing. Would you think it fair that either RTE or the Irish Times continue the pretence of a silent majority supporting Madrid???

This has gone far beyond nationalism & what is usually seen as Catalan-ism :-

Last Sunday the third biggest political grouping in Spain held a meeting in the city of Zaragoza in Aragon. In attendance were the speaker of the Aragones regional parliament, various deputies of the Spanish parliament and the mayor of Barcelona. Several hundred supporters of the Falange (Spain’s far right party) arrived to disrupt the meeting where the political party “Podemos” took the decision to support a future referendum which would be legal and agreed between Catalonia and Spain, and reassert its manifesto that the Spanish constitution of 1978 (85% of the voters for which have now died) is defective and needs to be reformed. Oh yes - and that the party (my party) supports the establishment of a republic.

The CPE attempted to stop the far right protesters from entering the conference hall. But they were outnumbered. Zaragoza a city of 700.000 souls had only 17 police officers left to deal with public order and prevent riot. Where were the other øpolice officers I sense you asking??? on the boat above before Warner Brothers thought it distasteful to be associated with the Spanish state’s ideas of legality.

During the altercation, the speaker of the regional parliament of Aragon, a senior politician in any democracy was hit on the head by a bottle thrown by a fascist.


Above you can see a photograph of me holding a bust of General Franco and a handful of A6 papers which bear the following script written in Catalan, Spanish & Occitan which I shall translate for Quora readers to English.

Referendum on self-determination of Catalonia 2017

Do you wish that Catalonia be an independent state in the form of a republic?


mark the option you desire.

Those pieces of paper I am holding are the same size and bear the same text as the ballot papers for the referendum which shall be celebrated in the city where I have lived for 17 years this coming Sunday.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights guarantees my right to free opinion and expression in whatever medium of those opinions.

Imagine for a moment you held those pieces of paper in your hand and you were showing them to a shopkeeper who has kept your loyal custom for over 15 years and with whom you enjoy short chats about various topics including current affairs. Now imagine that standing next to you was a man in uniform who told you that those pieces of paper were illegal and demanded you give him those pieces of paper and demanded that you present to him your identification. Imagine if that man in uniform was a member of police force which has no quotidien jurisdiction in your neighbourhood except where expressly authorised in operations against drug trafficking, terrorism or illegal migration. That is exactly what happened to me today. I am a European, an Irish citizen, fluent in the Spanish and Catalan languages, a community political activist, a political theorist, intellectual, articulate blaa blaa blaa et cetera &c., Do you think I am correct in considering the incident this afternoon which I described as an abuse of power and uniform within five minutes to another man in uniform. The second man was a member of the Catalan police force. He has jurisdiction. The Spanish national “CPE” had entered the tobacco shop (as I) to buy cigarettes. It is located opposite the CPE station in central Barcelona. He has no authority except acting on express orders from the ministry of the interior. Indeed he and his colleagues may not stop their vehicles in Barcelona without permission. They are housed at present on 3 cruise liners.

I shall continue to update from now on through the events of tonight and tomorrow and the counting and onwards.

History is being made & quite indulgently I ruefully admit I have found myself on site again. I owe it the IMC collective to report.

author by iosafpublication date Sat Sep 30, 2017 14:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Madrid who has imposed fines relating to Catalan referendums (both last and present) now in excess of 9.8 million euros has not told us how much its extraordinary and intimidating police and paramilitary deployment is costing the Spanish (& thus excessively the Catalan) tax payer.

3 cruise liners were hired to house police drafted here to prevent the vote.

.... ]to house police who might tomorrow evict parents and young children
With usual alacrity the Catalan populist pro democratic movement itself an alliance of leftists, anarchists, communists, greens, independence republicans, right wing economically motivated nationalists et cetera, &c,. blaa blaa -

converted Tweety bird into an anti Spanish repression meme.

Warner brothers threatened to sue Madrid. The second photo shows the result. Madrid's ministry of the interior has covered the polemical cartoon characters.

It is my opinion and that of many that Madrid has lost the psychological war.

But history is not made or finishes on one day..,

We now have a reliable opinion poll........

We await to see will young children be exposed to repressive violence. AT least they are not exposed to Warner Brother cartoon characters.

one of 3 cruise liners chartered by Madrid (without any published cost) to house riot police drafted to Catalonia to prevent the vote
one of 3 cruise liners chartered by Madrid (without any published cost) to house riot police drafted to Catalonia to prevent the vote

the same vessel after WB threatened to sue, its squeeky clean family image (& anonymous guy fawlkes mask sales) besmirched by association with Spanish repression
the same vessel after WB threatened to sue, its squeeky clean family image (& anonymous guy fawlkes mask sales) besmirched by association with Spanish repression

author by iosafpublication date Sat Sep 30, 2017 20:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Most of the Spanish media are reporting moving concentrations in central Barcelona today as evidence of the so-called silent majority. This is fake news. Indeed fake news is the only 21st century input on the part of Spanish unionism to this process.

After 17 years living in this society and being an activist on the so-called "far left" I can be relied upon to recognise at least a handful of the faces of the most notorious members of far right gangs who operate in Spain and the Spanish state. Starting this afternoon with a relatively sober gathering in front of the PNE station in central Barcelona. Approx 100 people waving Spanish flags but on closer examination wearing fascist necklace and other jewelry and similar tribal clues (braces, t-shirts) appeared to be cheered by locals waving Spanish flags in cars passing by. As I stood and watched and exchanged comments with genuine Barcelonans passing by it became apparent that the Spanish flag waving cars all had non-Catalan registration plates and were driving quite literally round the block in circles. But the other unwelcome visitors to our city, the PNE appeared to be buoyed by the support. (PNE = National police of Spain who no longer have jurisdiction in Catalonia, a force which has seen thousands of its members drafted in to stop the referendum - those who housed on the boats)
It has been several days since the locals of Huelva garrison town in Spain lined the motorway to cheer the paramilitary Guardia Civil vans as they left for Catalonia with cries of "a por ellos! = "let them have it!" . An acquaintance of mine, an English owner of a tourist bar and business who is quite apolitical told me that the sight of this shocked him and he thought how weird it would have been had the Metropolitan police been sent to Scotland the week before its referendum with motorways lined with George Cross flags and screams of "fucking have them!".

The so-called newspaper of reference in Spain, "El Pais" which frequently partners with "The Guardian" had up to that point been resolutely unionist to the dismay of many of its liberal / progressive readers that I know in Barcelona. That changed in its leader article 2 days ago, when finally the penny dropped :- it asked had the central government anything more to offer but intimidation and the basest of emtional responses - "US" and "THEM" where "US" has water cannon, helicopters & all the apparata of a repressive state and "THEM" have Warner Brothers, international sympathy & all the best slogans..... well "El Pais" did not quite put it that way. I put it that way. Since my first articles on the Catalan process published on this website approx 15 years ago, I have never pretended to be journalistically neutral. & that is why I have avoided the fabrication of "fake news".

The group of Spanish fascists are now visibly drunk in the square where is found both the Catalan government and Barcelona's city hall. They have begun to thrash pro-democracy banners and their songs and tone are altering. Both city and catalan police have chosen to put on riot gear. I have spoken to officers from both forces. I shall soon deal with them in a comment called "Good cop Bad cop".

I shall also soon present my most relevant articles from my the archive here on indymedia ireland to explain "how we got here" & also why this revolutionary or proto-conflict is relevant to contemporary alternative left or anarchist political theory & action.

Gosh what a lot is on the plate.

meanwhile, an important decision has been taken at the hottest occupied electoral centre, a school which is located between Catalan police station and Guardia Civil barracks, a site so hot that it has now merited coverage on Sky News, BBC, Daily Mail and where I have also now given several radio and TV interviews. The central government has made it clear that it will evict the occupying parents at 05h00. Bad things so often happen in politics and society in the last hour before dawn. The assembly has discussed the evacuation of children at 04h00.

I have never personally approved of the use of children in political action. I must admit I find it distasteful to indoctrinate children to ideological positions which go beyond a formative education and awareness of the universal declaration of human rights. Today to see children of pro-independence parents yell slogans at the tender age of 7 is as offensive to me as seeing children of the same age offspring to neo-nazis from Castille y Leon on perhaps their first visit to Barcelona scream the slogans of unrepentant fascism.

To my surprise the last 50 ballot papers I had to distribute have been taken by Europeans who have a right to vote and found me through social media. Each and every told me they decided to vote in the last week. They vote for democracy and in disgust at how the Spanish state, its institutions and by implication its constitutional monarchy have run rough shod over fundamental human rights of expression and assembly. The last six ballot papers went to Scottish people half of whom had voted to stay with the UK and half who had voted to leave. All of them had been subjec to the cloyingly sentimental "love" campaign in the run up to their referendum when the residents of England, Wales and the north of Ireland were encouraged to phone Scots and say "i love you -stay with us".

has 2 possible interpretations - up Spain as the nationalists scream but also "spain arrives" in Catalan.

crowds screamed "let them fucking have it!" as the paramilitary Guardia Civil vans left for Catalonia this week.
crowds screamed "let them fucking have it!" as the paramilitary Guardia Civil vans left for Catalonia this week.

the spanish nationalist flag from the civil war - no crest. simple is as simple was. this well known man of the far right is in front of BCN city hall.
the spanish nationalist flag from the civil war - no crest. simple is as simple was. this well known man of the far right is in front of BCN city hall.

as I left the square where our government and city hall are, they had begun to label the catalan police vans. I had spent five minutes talking to its driver. more details later.
as I left the square where our government and city hall are, they had begun to label the catalan police vans. I had spent five minutes talking to its driver. more details later.

author by iosaf mac diarmadapublication date Sun Oct 01, 2017 10:11author address author phone 0034600341065Report this post to the editors

A little over a week ago the Spanish state attempted to take control of the Mossos d'Esquadra the Catalan national police force whose men and women have sworn an oath of fealty to Catalonia and answer to the Catalan government "la Generalitat". The Mossos sidestepped all such attempts.
The Spanish ministry of the Interior ordered the Mossos to cordon off with "do not cross police" tape and guards all potential 6000+ electoral centres. A civil rights movement emerged intent on protecting those centres. Friday afternoon parents and teachers as well as children stayed
At 06h23 this morning I went to the school in my area, known to some as the "Forat". A neighbourhood which has a long and sometimes difficult history of community policiing, and is considered the anarchist heart of the city. c/f "The half a rood of rock" - how we value public space.

At 06h44 several hundred people were standing in the very heavy rain outside the occupied school / electoral centre just one part of the civil rights movement protecting ballot boxes and voting centres which have been declared illegal by Madrid. All children were evacuated from schools last night.
the notice in form of informal verbal advice from Catalan police to every assembly last night was to clear by 05h00.
The order from Madrid ministry of interior was to clear by 06h00.
Madrid ordered Catalan police to clear all centres but Spanish national police as we know are drafted in to do so too....
Catalan police chief instructed his men and women to delay clearing the centres until Monday if the officer on site expected resistance.

at 06h44 A Catalan police officer leading a team of 4 officers informed the crowd that the Spanish ministry of the interior had ordered the end of the civil rights occupation "Shall you resist?" - silence. a voice asked "do you need an umbrella?" (it was pissing rain) silence - "we are pacifists & we resist".

The Catalan police officer noting the potential for resistance made an informed decision to leave the civil rights protest : "Have a good day".......the four police officers walked away.
silence.... cops looked back and smiled from ear to ear.....
they had done their duty to the letter.

I of course had to add my bit in English : "you have all made European history : well done!"..,. laughter and applause. hugs. joy.

someone else shouted in English "remember they called Czechoslovakia the velvet revolution ??? we are making the umbrella revolution!!! "
another hushed "Shhhhh!!!!!" yet another joked "who are you to shush us are you Madrid?"

I cycled off quickly to other voting centres in old city of Barcelona. Told people on site what had happened. nerves calmed. Exactly same formula repeated.

"i must inform you that Spain_____" will you resist?"------ we are pacifists we resist.... "have good day".



The paramilitary Guardia Civil went to the electoral centres where those holding top Catalan political office were/are expected to vote.

At the voting centre used the president of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont, the Spanish paramilitary force baton charged civil rights groups and broke windows. It is thought by many that they may soon detain Mr Puigdemont it is rumoured under charges of rebellion or treason. His predecessor ex-president Mas had his final fines set in excess of 8 million euros this week for his role in organising the last referendum. & there shall be more referendums. That shall be the type of republic we are building here.

There are several videos of the extraordinary but sadly expected and typical Spanish state violence against pacifist civil rights activists this morning at this page

Later the mayor of Barcelona, Ada of the alternative leftist anarcho formation shall vote she says "in blank" choosing neither "yes" nor "no". That option 'i always referred to through the years perhaps some readers might remember as the "vote and not -vote" anarcho participative option.

Spanish paramilitary Guardia Civil attack voting centre used by Catalan president.

President of Catalonia,  Carles Puigdemont casts his vote.
President of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont casts his vote.

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