Monday, 17 December 2012

Police violence against the People........

Violence in Madrid as police charge protesters.

A protester is dragged away by a police officer after the police charged demonstrators outside Spanish parliament in Madrid, September 25, 2012.

4th October 2012  Madrid  

A Spanish court on Thursday threw out a police case against the organizers of a protest in Madrid last week that ended in violence and dozens of arrests, saying people had a right to express their opinion.
Hundreds of thousands of Spaniards have taken to the streets in almost daily protests against spending cuts.
Most are peaceful but last Tuesday's demonstration in Madrid, promoted through social networking sites by activist groups, turned violent with youths clashing with police after thousands of people formed a human chain around parliament.

Thirty-five people were arrested and 64 people hurt as police used rubber bullets and truncheons to clear the crowds.

Judge Santiago Pedraz dismissed the case filed by police after taking statements from seven of the eight detainees who had organized the "Surround the Congress" protest.
None had been charged.
"The defense of ideas or doctrines cannot be prohibited, no matter how far they stray from or question the constitution," the court ruling said.

About 100 people gathered near the High Court to show support for the organizers, some holding placards with slogans such as "No Repression" and "We will fight without violence for dignity".

"He asked us if our intention was to prevent parliament from working normally and if we wanted to occupy the building. We said clearly that was not the case," one of the organizers told reporters after leaving the court.

Debate about the right to protest has intensified in Spain with the centre-right ruling People's Party saying the laws on protests are too permissive.

The protesters, ranging from miners to civil servants and teachers, oppose tough spending cuts implemented by the government as it veers towards an international bailout.
The unrest is bad news for the Spanish government as it tries to convince investors that the country is stable.
The Interior Ministry has opened an investigation into police brutality in Madrid's Atocha train station during the protest last week.
The High Court is also due to question the 35 people arrested.
The government has been alarmed by the increasingly violent nature of protests and the number of people taking part.

 "It has to change. We can't have 10 protests in the same area of Madrid in one day," People's Party (PP) politician Cristina Cifuentes told national radio.

The head of the Madrid regional government, Ignacio Gonzalez, also from the PP, also said changes were necessary to stop the capital from being "in a constant state of collapse".

Opposition parties, including the Socialists who were in power until last November, opppose any changes to the law that impinge on people's rights.

Riot police struggle with protesters during demonstrations in Madrid against austerity cutbacks

The middle-aged man sitting on a railway station bench protects a younger man by wrapping his arms around him as he shouts desperately at the helmeted, baton-wielding police officers running up and down the platforms at Madrid's Atocha station.

"Shame on you! Shame on you! Shame on you!" he bellows repeatedly in a video that shows how police charged into the station during violent demonstrations that shook Madrid last week.

On the other side of the ticket barrier a younger man is whacked with truncheons by two policemen. "I don't know whether he is a passenger or a protester," one of them admits. A third man who was waiting for a train is bundled down the platform by police officers as he asks: "And what have I done?" A youth points to blood running down his face. "What the hell is this?" he asks.

On Friday, police told a judge they had needed to chase a group of violent protesters across the railway tracks and had later arrested some in a nearby bar. They, too, had suffered injuries. "People who had been hurling stones at police tried to hide in the station, passing themselves off as normal passengers," a spokesman said. "We had to go in."

As Spaniards respond with dismay to the violence shown by demonstrators, who launched attacks on police, and the response of some riot police, during scuffles in the area around Madrid's parliament building last week, the long-running drama of the country's deflating economy has lurched into a newly confrontational stage, amid fears that there will be more violence to come.

While police and the conservative government of prime minister Mariano Rajoy were accused of authoritarian behaviour, radical protesters from both the far left and the far right were putting a hard, street-fighting edge on to the once peaceful protests of the civilised but ineffectual indignados.

Cristina Cifuentes, the government delegate in Madrid, had warned before the protests that they were being infiltrated by violent members of Spain's far right and were attracting the country's most radical leftwingers. But protesters later pointed to a group of undercover policemen who, they claimed, had been at the front of the protest waving red flags and encouraging others to violence.

Other police certainly thought their undercover colleagues were troublemakers, and there is also film of one of them being dragged out of the crowd to be arrested and shouting: "I am a colleague! I am a colleague!"

On Saturday, a 72-year-old man was among some 30 demonstrators who had been accused of attacking police and given bail. "But I was sitting down when they arrested me," he said.