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Pic: Guy Smallman

EU SUmmit Barcelona 9-16 March

For 10 days in March hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of Barcelona for a series of actions, demonstrations, debates, cinema forums and other festivities called by the Campaign Against the Europe of Capital to oppose the EU Summit that began on the 15th.

The week started with 3,000 people holding a reclaim the streets party on Saturday the 9th which escalated to a 400,000 strong protest on the 10th against further privatisation of the water supply and the National Hydrological Plan - planned to re-route Spain's biggest river. On the 14th, 100,000 unionists marched against the summit and on Friday the 15th 20,000 people took part in 25 decentralised actions around the city.

'Lobby busters', prisoner solidarity activists, and many other groups highlighted important issues around the summit, banners were hung at the Sagrada Familia church and other locations, critical mass bike rides clogged city streets. In the early afternoon, tensions increased as police surrounded the convergence centre and stopped and searched people all over the city. Police charged a large crowd of protesters on Las Ramblas (main avenue) and violently 'cleared' the area. In the evening they attacked another demonstration in Gracia and arrested several people. Prisoner solidarity protests went on all night, many were attacked by riot police.

On Saturday the 16th up to 500,000 people marched through the city. Protesters faced widespread police violence, including rubber bullets and tear gas, despite the majority of protesters being peaceful. Participants described premeditated, brutal and indiscriminate police attacks, that resulted in 80 people being arrested, bringing the total to 109 arrests in two days. In spite of the repression, spirits remained high and most considered the day a success. While much of the planning for the week of events had sought to minimise confrontation, the denial of basic rights that is now becoming commonplace in Europe was widespread - although not wholly unexpected - in Spain.

Campaign Against the Europe of Capital