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Square protesters try to besiege the Catalan Parliament

The Catalan Parliament was under siege by the “indignats” protesters, who have been camping on Catalunya Square for the last month. They tried to impede MPs' access to the park where the Parliament is located. Some MPs arrived on foot and were insulted, pushed or sprayed. Others, including the Catalan President and the Parliament’s President, had to arrive via helicopter or inside police vans. The ‘indignats’ movement condemned “the isolated violent episodes”, but said they have the right to block the Parliament. Today the first voting on the budget was held, which reduces public spending by 10%. Despite the protests, the parliamentary debate took place.

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15 June 2011 11:55 PM

by

ACN / Gaspar Pericay Coll

Barcelona (ACN).- This Wednesday the Catalan Parliament lived its most tense day since its restoration in 1980. Hundreds of angry protesters blocked access to the Parliament in order to impede the MPs entrance and therefore force a boycott of Wednesday\u2019s parliamentary debate on the Catalan budget. They were part of the \u201Cindignats\u201D movement that has been camping out in Spain\u2019s squares for the last month. They are angry with the political class and the current economic situation of high unemployment, high housing prices and high bank profits. The protesters besieged the Parliament and some of them turned violent. The MPs who tried to gain access on foot to Barcelona\u2019s Ciutadella Park, where the Parliament is located, were insulted, pushed or even painted with sprays. Some MPs succeeded to enter the building but others, after several attempts on foot and even being escorted by the riot police, chose other means. Many MPs had to arrive in riot police vans or via helicopter, including the Catalan President and the Catalan Parliament\u2019s President \u2013Catalonia\u2019s two most important authorities\u2013. Those are certainly some of the images of the year. However eventually MPs managed to access the Parliament and the first parliamentary debate on the 2011 budget took place. A unanimous official statement condemning the antidemocratic blocking of the Parliament was approved by the Parliament\u2019s Bureau. The Catalan President Artur Mas stated he \u201Cwill not tolerate the use of violence\u201D and he \u201Cwill guarantee the normal functioning of the Parliament\u201D. Mas added that if protesters continue acting violently and blocking the Parliament police will act, \u201Cas happens in all democracies\u201D. Madrid\u2019s Plaza del Sol protesters condemned \u201Cthe shameful\u201D violent scenes lived in Barcelona this morning and stressed that the \u201Cindignats\u201D movement defends \u201Cpeaceful protest\u201D. Barcelona\u2019s \u2018indignats\u2019 movement condemned \u201Cthe isolated violence episodes\u201D, but said to have the right to block the Parliament.


Protesters arrived on Tuesday night and spent the night in front of the Park\u2019s gates, which had been closed by police as prevention. Protesters had announced today\u2019s siege many days ago, when they were deciding whether to leave or not Catalunya Square\u2019s camp, and also when the memories of the riot police charges against demonstrators were still very fresh. On Friday May 27th, Catalan Police reacted on the provocations by a few violent protesters and charged against demonstrators, which provoked hours of chaos in Barcelona\u2019s downtown and more than 120 injured people. The clash between the Catalan Police and the \u201Cindignats\u201D movement was repeated today. However, when two weeks ago police action received much criticism, today it was the \u201Cindignats\u201D movement that was the target of criticism.

On Wednesday morning, many violent actions made by groups of protesters could be seen in front of the Park\u2019s gates, including aggressive behaviour towards the MPs. Some MPs were insulted, pushed or even sprayed. The former Catalan Minister for Justice the Socialist Montserrat Tura had a black cross painted on her jacket. The Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist MP Josep Maria Llop, who is blind, complained that protesters had been trying to take away his dog.

A part of the \u201Cindignats\u201D claims against violence

These violent attitudes provoked a split within the \u201Cindignats\u201D movement. The movement\u2019s spokespersons denounced the use of violence and ask for peaceful protests. To avoid repeating the morning\u2019s incidents, the movement\u2019s assembly decided to leave the Ciutadella Park\u2019s gates and walk towards Sant Jaume Square, where the Catalan Government\u2019s Palace is located. However, a group of protesters decided to stay. Police kept its impressive cordon. At the end, when the parliamentary session ended around 21h, no incidents were registered. All the politicians and Parliament\u2019s staff were able to leave the zone. Many of them did it on foot and some with their official car. The Catalan President had already warned that police would act if necessary, \u201Cmaking use of its democratic prerogative to use force\u201D, \u201Ca controlled, measured and sensible use of force\u201D.

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  • Two of the Catalan Government's Ministers arriving via helicopter (by P. Francesch)

  • Protesters and riot police face to face at the Ciutadella Park's gates (by R. Pagano)

  • Two of the Catalan Government's Ministers arriving via helicopter (by P. Francesch)
  • Protesters and riot police face to face at the Ciutadella Park's gates (by R. Pagano)