Police break up pro-Palestine protest in Catalan business agency offices

Demonstrators mark anniversary of Palestinian Nakba demanding an end to 'complicity' with Israel

Protesters outside the ACCIÓ Catalonia Trade & Investment agency offices
Protesters outside the ACCIÓ Catalonia Trade & Investment agency offices / Blanca Blay
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

May 15, 2024 10:59 AM

May 15, 2024 05:41 PM

Catalan police Mossos d'Esquadra broke up a pro-Palestinian protest on Wednesday outside Catalonia Trade & Investment, known in Catalan as ACCIÓ, the Catalan government's business agency in Barcelona.

Protesters from the 'Enough Complicity With Israel' platform occupied the building on Passeig de Gràcia at around 10 am, demanding the closure of its Tel Aviv office.

 

By midday, more people had joined in, and about a hundred gathered outside the offices, demanding that the government resulting from Sunday's Catalan election cut ties with Israel.

"We call on the new government to close Catalonia Trade & Investment's office in Tel Aviv, to end economic and diplomatic relations with Israel, and to stop the repression against those in solidarity with Palestine," said Alys Samson of the Enough Complicity With Israel platform.

The demonstrators held a press conference denouncing the business agency's ties with "Israeli colonialism."

 

"Israel's business activities are not neutral; they take place in a context of occupation, massive human rights violations and apartheid, as recognized by the United Nations Rapporteur," said Nora Miralles, researcher at the Observatory for Human Rights and Business in the Mediterranean (ODHE). 

After the press conference, protesters staged a peaceful performance to denounce the harsh conditions in Palestinian prisons, with a dozen people barely clothed and kneeling on the ground. 

Protesters stage a performance denouncing the harsh conditions in Palestinian prisons, moments before being dispersed by police
Protesters stage a performance denouncing the harsh conditions in Palestinian prisons, moments before being dispersed by police / Maria Asmarat

At that point, the Catalan police Mossos d'Esquadra broke up the protest, pushing the demonstrators with batons and causing tense scenes as some demonstrators fell to the ground.

Once the Mossos secured the perimeter of the building, the protesters who remained inside were escorted out of the building. 

Activist inside Catalonia's Trade & Investment building surrounded by police
Activist inside Catalonia's Trade & Investment building surrounded by police / Maria Asmarat

Nakba anniversary protest in Barcelona

Meanwhile, hundreds of people gathered in Barcelona's Plaça Universitat in a joint protest against Israel's "genocide" in Palestine.

The protest coincided with  the 76th anniversary of the Nakba, also sometimes referred to as "The Palestinian Catastrophe," the mass displacement of a majority of Palestinians from their land in 1948 that preceded the establishment of Israel.  

 

Under the slogan "Against Complicit States, Stop the Genocide," the protesters slowly marched through the city center for nearly two hours. 

Students block access to university campus

Students from the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) blocked access to the Ferrocarrils (FGC) train station on the university campus in Cerdanyola del Vallès on Wednesday morning.

According to the Union of Students of the Catalan Countries (SEPC), about eighty people have spent the night camping in the university grounds and in the early hours of the morning they blocked access to the trains with tables and chairs.

"UAB stands up to put an end to the genocide against the Palestinian people, to end the complicity of the educational community," the group published on social networks.