Riot police must be “proportionate” to avoid “violent escalation” in Barcelona, urges Mayor Colau

May 26, 2016 06:21 PM | ACN

The eviction of squatters from the so-called ‘Expropriated Bank’ in Barcelona’s Gracia neighbourhood has caused three consecutive nights of riots in the city and has raised concerns in the press about an excessive use of force by the police. The Mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, urged the police to avoid “a violent escalation”. Colau, a former activist herself, said that she trusts the Mossos d’Esquadra, the Catalan Police, but admitted to being “worried” by reports that suggest that the riot squad’s behaviour was disproportionate. “I don’t know and I don’t want to prejudge anything. I trust the Mossos but I need to ask for caution and urge all police actions to aim at avoiding any escalation of violence”, she said, asking the officers to, first and foremost, “protect the neighbours”. Meanwhile, the Public Prosecutor’s Office is investigating former mayor Xavier Trias, who for a year paid the rent of the ‘Expropriated Bank’ in order to avoid an eviction.

Riots in Barcelona over ‘Expropriated Bank’ eviction

May 24, 2016 03:11 PM | ACN

Barcelona’s Gracia neighbourhood saw violent protests this past Monday, after a demonstration against the eviction of the so-called ‘Expropriated Bank’. According to the police, after a peaceful rally, several people started making barricades, damaging urban furniture and several vehicles parked in the street and burning containers. As firefighters couldn’t control the different fires which occurred, the police decided to start a baton charge. According to some of the demonstrators, the agents were using foam projectiles and pictures of wounded people appeared on social media. The riots resulted in several wounded amongst the troublemakers and the police, and one person was arrested. The ‘Expropriated Bank’in Gracia was initially an office of the Caixa Tarragona bank. The building was occupied in 2011 and has since been integrated into the neighbourhood as a community centre.