Barcelona: the police install a camera to spy on a squat in the district of Gràcia

A camera hidden in a dark box on the roof of a restaurant monitored the activity of a squat house in the Gràcia district of Barcelona, at least since December 22 when it was detected. As disseminated by the group Ègida -Defensa Collectiva Anarquista, the video surveillance team focused directly on the door of the squat, which is why they rule out that it is the restaurant’s security system.

Neighborhood witnesses have told La Directa that during the last weeks they had observed the presence of “strange” individuals and vehicles parked with people inside the house all day: “I saw them in front of the house, I am convinced that they were plainclothes policemen,” says a neighbor. One of the managers of the restaurant, where the state security forces had placed the camera, told this media outlet that they have “nothing to say”.

The uncovered camera, which allows external control of the images, is a Dahua CA-HZ2030T and has been connected to the power grid and a Telefónica distribution box for real-time transmission of the recording. Through a statment published on Indymedia, signed by Ègid, they made public photographs from the camera and denounced the fact that “the state and private companies, in this case Dahua, profit at the expense of our limited sense of freedom, creating common enemies.”

In the text where they denounce the facts, they recall that the inhabitants of the squatted house under the spotlight were arrested on August 23, following May Day 2023. As detailed by the press service of the Mossos at the time, the detainees were accused of “damaging establishments with blunt objects” that day. Specifically, these would be ATMs and the headquarters of Zara, Primark and Starbucks in the center of Barcelona, among others. The Central Research Unit of Violent Extremism of the Mossos d’Esquadra was in charge of carrying out the operation. Those affected say that since then “the presence of members of the secret police has been seen in the vicinity of the building”.

Video surveillance of the Kasa de la Muntanya

It is not the first time that the anarchist and squatter movement has been spied on in Barcelona, nor specifically in the district of Gràcia. In July 2013, the installation of a chimney that did not draw smoke from the roof of the Turó del Cargol school with a hidden object inside raised suspicions. The object turned out to be a video surveillance camera that focused on the interior courtyard of the CSO Kasa de la Muntanya, in the La Salut neighborhood.

A few weeks later, a group of workers went up to remove the device, to reassemble it, days later, inside a false ventilation tube on the roof of the Hospital de la Esperanza. Facing directly on the façade and the entrances to the social center, the new perspective allowed the camera to record at all times who entered and left the building. Eventually, a group of activists dismantled the spy system.

Directory of squats in Barcelona:
Directory of squats in Catalonia:
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author: Gemma Garcia, La Directa