dimecres, 15 d’abril de 2009

18th March: Chronicle of the Night Time Rally Following the Eviction

8,000 people take to the streets to show their solidarity with the evicted students.

Following, the eviction of students from the rectorate of the University of Barcelona, violent clashes erupted between police and students. More than 50 people were injured and 6 were detained (although released that day due to media pressure). That evening, 8,000 demonstrators attended a rally in support of the students. They demanded the resignation of the rector of the University of Barcelona (Dídac Ramírez), the resignation of Josep Huguet (Catalan Minister of Innovation, Universities and Businesses) and that university buildings be kept free of police.

Police prevented the rally from entering Plaça Sant Jaume where the Generalitat government is based (the political seat of those responsible for the actions of the police). Plaça Sant Jaume is the traditional end of protest routes, where pressure groups symbolically read out their manifestos in front of the government buildings, therefore it is considered a democratic right to enter this public space. Running battles between incensed demonstrators and police erupted. Demonstrators made barricades in the streets of the Born neighbourhood. More than 40 riot vans of police attended the scene, a clearly disproportionate number. Students, pedestrians, tourists, the elderly, families with children and journalists were trapped at the scene by the police presence on the thin medieval streets and the closure of the metro station.

The exact number of injured and detained during the night is unknown. However, we can confirm that amongst those injured by police include a journalist from TV3 (national television station), two from La Vanguardia newspaper and one from El Periódico newspaper, as well as a number of professors and Administrative and Service Personnel from the Autonomous University of Barcelona. A 10 year-old child was also hospitalised following police brutality. A spokesperson for the Mossos d'Esquadra expressed regret for the aggressions.

>> See Video <<

Despite the police violence, our struggle continues. The displays of solidarity from all over Europe continue to multiply. On the 19th March (the following day) a European wide rally protesting against the implementation of a European Higher Education Area will take place. We continue to occupy the Faculty of Letters and Educational Sciences at the Autonomous University of Barcelona and that of Educational Sciences at the University of Barcelona.

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