Peaceful university student demonstration coinciding with the ECB meeting in Barcelona

Thousands of students protested in Barcelona against the reduction in the university budget and the increase in tuition fees. The demonstration was peaceful and was observed by the police, in order to prevent any possible incidents, since it coincided with the European Central Bank Governing Council, being held in the Catalan capital.


May 4, 2012 01:22 AM

Barcelona (ACN).- The university student protest against budget cuts and the increase in tuition fees organised in Barcelona coinciding with the European Central Bank meeting in the Catalan capital was peaceful and without any violent incident. Barcelona was controlled by 8,000 police officers, deployed in the most sensitive points of the city, including the two venues where the ECB meeting was held. This preventive deployment was to guarantee that no anti-system demonstration could interfere with the ECB meeting; a measure combined with the temporary suspension of the Schengen Protocol, enabling police to set up border controls. However, the Platform to Defend Public Universities had organised a peaceful demonstration to protest against the proposal to double university tuition fees next year, as well as against budget cuts affecting public universities; decisions supported  by both the Catalan and Spanish Governments. The demonstration took place without any impeachment by police, except controls to make sure they were not carrying any item susceptible to be used in a hypothetical violent act. According to Barcelona’s Local Police, 7,500 students participated in the demonstration; 20,000 according to the organisers. The demonstration went through Barcelona city centre and was watched by the police.

Students gathered in front of Barcelona University’s old building. They marched towards the Triumph Arch and the demonstration ended in front of the gates of the Ciutadella Park, which hosts the Catalan Parliament. The original idea was to reach the Ciutadella Campus of the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF), located near the north side of the park. However, this campus is also some 300 metres away from the Hotel Arts, where the ECB Governing Council was held. Therefore, the UPF Board, together with the police, took the decision to close the Ciutadella Campus and, consequently, the demonstration organisers ended the march at another side of the park.

However, once the demonstration had officially ended, a group of students decided to go to the closed campus. Police circled them and walked with them to the campus. Once in the campus, no incidents took place, and neither the students tried to get closer to the Hotel Arts.