Madrid Delegate Salutes Police Brutality

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | SEPTEMBER 26, 2012

The government of Madrid has put all of its support behind the acts of police brutality that took place Tuesday in the Spanish capital. Voices of congratulation came from various bureaucrats who said the the actions taken by the National Police “demonstrated their professionalism in very difficult circumstances.”

The most vociferous of all public servants was the Spanish government delegate in Madrid, Cristina Cifuentes, who said in an interview for National Spanish Radio that the police “received a disproportionate attack” with stones, screws, bottles” and other objects. The Government delegate “absolutely” defended police actions and accused protesters of “extreme violence”.

Some political parties such as PSOE and IU have denounced police actions as “repressive”, “disproportionate” and even “excessive”. The protest, called 25-S Surround the Congress prompted the local government to protect the Congress building with 1,400 armored riot police, who in their fights with protesters, resulted in the imprisonment of 35 people with 64 others wounded.

The Madrid delegate compared the protests to the February 23 coup blaming the incident on “radical and anti-establishment people” and regretted that the demonstration did not end in “peaceful” manner. Speaking later in the Madrid Assembly, Cifuentes detailed what she called a “proper and proportionate” by the police who according to her were “very professional” while “repelling aggression” from demonstrators.

She added that she had no knowledge of attacks on journalists, police excesses or failures by police officers to identify themselves should a protester requests it. She said that “if there has been a violation of the law, we will act accordingly.”

“If the police had not acted as they did, the protesters would have entered the Congress”, said Cifuentes who condoned the lack of identification of the anti-riot police saying that protesters sometimes attempt to photograph the badges, so they wear them underneath their protection vests. In the past, protestors have posted the badge numbers and photos of riot police officers on social networks and called for full investigations on their violent acts.

The Madrid delegate continued to accuse demonstrators of using “tactics” to “provoke the police.” She said that some people posted manual on the internet on how to provoke police, but she presented no proof that those people were part of the organization that called for the demonstration or that any of those individuals were in any way connected with the demonstrations.

“Yesterday was a clear example of this,” said Cifuentes, who pointed out some of these “tactics” as “drop to the ground when required by the police with their hands on their heads to make look like police abuse or scream when they are subject to detention. “The assembled made good use of the whole repertoire” to give a sense of “police brutality”.

In the halls of Congress, the Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz, has also supported police actions against the protestors and has called their actions as “extreme violence”. In his view, the police acted “magnificently” and “did their duty” to “some protesters who used too much violence.” Fernandez added that the police “fulfilled the law in particularly complex circumstances” and justified the actions taken by anti-riot police. “I commend the police, who acted extremely well and thanks to them the intention to illegally and unconstitutionally occupy Congress and coerce its members did not succeed”.

Demonstrations in front of Congress are prohibited when parliamentary activity is ongoing, which officials said was what prompted government to consider it as an illegal coup. In Spain the Criminal Code defines the protests before the House of Representatives as punishable with jail if they disturb the “normal functioning” of the Chamber.

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The ‘Spanish Autumn’ Begins now

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | SEPTEMBER 26, 2012

The ‘Spanish autumn’ is here. The same pictures we saw months ago in Greece and Portugal, are now popping up in Madrid. The Spanish people went out by the thousands on Tuesday to tell their government they are angry and that the people cannot take it anymore. Spain is being pushed to the limit and unfortunately it is just the beginning.

The discontent of the Spanish citizens due to the cuts and their distance from the political class flooded the streets of Madrid on Tuesday. Thousands of people, many of which arrived from other regions, came to support activists who gathered outside Congress to show their dissatisfaction about the way the Spanish government is handling the crisis.

Although the organizers insisted until the last moment that the protest was a peaceful one, Spanish police launched themselves against them, which increased the tension between the two groups. According to police records, 26 protesters were detained while 64 others were wounded. A total of 16 people were taken to the hospital due to their serious lesions. Among the injured are 27 police agents.

Riot police tried to disperse the protestors once again at 9:00 pm after they entered the square near Congress.

Many congregants tried to flee by running through streets surrounding the Congress. Police said some violent demonstrators started throwing bottles, batteries and other items. Some participants in the protests in Madrid beat police agents after they found themselves trapped between two police security rings. The police then charged against protesters, which rendered many of them with bloodied heads.

Throughout the evening, attendees attempted demonstration as close as possible to Congress, which is surrounded by 13 small streets. The Delegate, Cristina Cifuentes, insisted that demonstrations were prohibited during Congress sessions.

The main goal of the protest, carried out under the name ‘Surround Congress’ was to express people’s concern about the current economic conditions in Spain and to start a constitutional process, said organizers of the protest. The frustration of many of the protesters was visible.

“I came to show my suffering face to the politicians,” said Mamen GuBas, an unemployed 41-year-old man from Bilbao. Among those attending were outraged but also unemployed students, housewives and elderly people from Andalusia, Aragon, Catalonia, Valencia and Galicia.

Protesters were harassed by police even before they arrived to their last stop in Madrid. The bus they were traveling in was approached by police to identify the occupants. “I ask our representatives to look after the people and protect financial markets,” said Joaquin Sanchez, a priest from Murcia.

More than 1,300 policemen from 30 regions of the country were sent to Madrid to watch over the protesters. Most of them belong to Police Intervention Unit (PIU) an organ of the National Police.

In total there were three security rings around Congress, two of which were closed and bolted before six o’clock. A group of dog handlers plus some cavalry units completed the operation.

Spanish Government still not listening

The government led by Mariano Rajoy not only ignores the calls of the people to stop the handover of Spain to the European bankers, but it seems it actively continues to negotiate the so-called ‘financial rescue’. A report by the Financial Times of London reveals that both the European Central Bank and the European Commission are advising the Spanish government on how to request the rescue.

The ‘Times’ says in an editorial that these negotiations are “politically understandable” and notes that “Madrid is keen to avoid the humiliation involved in having the European bailout conditions being dictated by the bankers.” It seem then that the Rajoy administration has been lying throughout the whole process.

At first, Rajoy had said that the rescue would not be necessary, but his comments have been changing ever since Spanish ‘communities’ began requesting financial aid. Spain will then introduce more painful fiscal and structural reforms as a package developed ‘in house’, when in reality those will be conditions imposed by Brussels in a complete loss of sovereignty.

If those Spanish protesters think they are living in difficult times now, they have seen nothing. The pain to come will be greater once Spain requests and approves the financial rescue package now being discussed between their leaders and the European bankers.

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