Defenders of Can Vies Squat Center sentenced in Barcelona

CanVies (pronounced ‘vias’) is an Occupied assembly-run Social center, set by the railwaytracks in what was once a CNT Union Center 80 years ago. The occupation has lasted 17 years, surviving multiple eviction attempts due to strong local support.mg_1092_as_smart_object-1Last year Barcelona City Council decided on frontal attack, enraged that there was growing autonomous community they didn’t control. Thousands stood in front of the riot police, who finally broke through and the demolition began.

Then the unthinkable happened.the community took the streets, and fought the police for 4 days, the demolition was paralyzed.

When 10,000 angry youths approached the Ramblas , the tourist money-pot, at midnight on the 4th day, the police got the order to back off and not fire gas. The police cordon round the partly demolished center was withdrawn, and suddenly a demolition excavator went up in flames.1401228970865
Can Vies was reoccupied, the next day thousands arrived in party mood and incredibly, rebuilding immediately began. A human chain over 1km long was formed and rubble passed along it, delivering tons of it to the doorsteps of the local council offices!can-vies-day-6-rebuilding
Builders donated material. advice  and labour, 90,000 euros were collected, all sorts of groups helped out, a new cafe has appeared in the ruined part and many activities are in full swing, despite legal and bureaucratic attacks and new eviction threats by the enraged authorities.cadena-humana-can-vies-30-mayo

84 people were arrested defending Can Vies, and dozens were injured by the police, luckily there were no deaths. These citizens should get rewards but the State wants revenge.

the rubble arrives

the rubble arrives

The first court cases have finally begun, with the police and judiciary in foul mood after a documentary shown on local TV accused them convincingly of being chronic and inveterate liars, torturers and of doing frame-ups, and was watched by half a million Catalans. (The Ciutat Morta 4F scandal, see here): Ciutat Morta- Dead City- watch here + Review (English subs).

The Courts announced to the press, before the victims, the first 4 sentences. . The Solidarity Assembly of  Can Vies (see here) reports:

   ”The highest penalty is three years and nine months in prison for a man accused of throwing a glass bottle towards an agent riot shield. with aggravating disguise” because the youth allegedly wore a scarf that covered his face… (the only evidence is a police witness who arrested him later but reportedly couldnt even remember the colour of the scarf).”
injured defenders of Can Vies

injured defenders of Can Vies

”Also condemned was a youth aged 19, to twelve months in prison for the crime of attack on the authority (throwing stones) and resisting arrest)…. He denies it and said he resisted because he thought the plain clothes police were muggers.

Also sentenced to one year in prison was a photojournalist  covering the demonstration for Can Vies at the time of the events was The woman, who contributes to EL PAÍS newspaper and La Directa as accredited with documents signed by the media. She said during the hearing that after an agent recriminated her for taking pictures of plainclothes policemen she was forcefully detained and suffered damage to her camera.”

However, the judge believed the police version, according to which the girl threw a small stone at the policeman and caused injury to his forearm. She has been sentenced to a year in prison for the attack on the authority’ and 30day penalty fine for the alleged injury to the arm of the policeman….”


Can Vies before eviction

”The fourth victim  convicted is a youth arrested on Begur street, whom the judge accused of resisting arrest and therefore imposed eight months in prison. In this case, a neighbor saw the police action from the balcony of the house, and swore that the boy did not resist, on the contrary, she said he was the victim of police violence ….
The 5th defendant in this first batch was acquitted……”
In late January a week of solidarity with the victims was held, with marches, demos and fund raising, a section of the ‘4F ‘demo of 2nd Feb was to support the accused 84, and mothers of the victims spoke strongly in their defense.
A whole range of campaigns are joining together, as seen when thousands marched this week:   defense of the Can Vies victims, To close the Immigration Detention Centers, To reopen the 4F ”torture and frame-up” case” and that of Juan Benitez,  killed by police,  The defense of the PANDORA 11 (see here) anarchists,  the campaign against the new Gagging Law which will make all meaningful protest illegal, plus the PAH campaign against evictions for mortgage default and those against cuts to health, education, social security, pensions, etc.
This autumn there will be elections in Spain, the neo-fascist PP will surely lose their absolute majority, if only for the proliferating scandals for public looting on a massive scale, and there is hope that the new party ‘Podemos’ (We can do it’), which sprang from the horizontal organizing ideas of the 15M movement, will sweep into power as Syriza has done in Greece
can-vies-resisteix.1st day photo
One thing is clear, the institutions of Francoism, police, judiciary, army, Church, etc still need total reform.
The gigantic  ‘odious’ debts imposed to bale out private banks (and which will take at least 200 yrs of ‘public austerity’ to pay back) need to be defaulted on.
Instead a whole range of sustainable, anti ”growth” initiatives need to be rapidly promoted. (see here Kick-start Post Capitalism?)
There is no way the State can lock up 84 people for defending a peaceful anarchist community center against an immoral and unprovoked attack.
Our hope is that all these sentences will eventually have to be withdrawn due to public resistance, just as the attack on Can Vies had to be cancelled, and that false accusations will be prosecuted instead.