On December 16, 2014, Spanish police launched 'Operation Pandora'. Round-ups, searches, and arrests were carried out at squats in the 'Casa de la Montaña' district of Barcelona, at the libertarian San-Andres reading room, the anarchist Poble-Sec reading room, as well as 15 private homes.
Presently, 11 anarchists have been detained incommunicado by the state and accused of belonging to an 'anarchist terrorist' organisation.
At the same time as these attacks upon the anarchist movement, the Spanish government has introduced new laws which criminalise a wide range of political activity. Among other things, the new laws "allow fines of up to €30,000 for disseminating photographs of police officers that are deemed to endanger them or their operations. Further, individuals participating in demonstrations outside parliament buildings or key installations could be fined up to €600,000 if they are considered to breach the peace. Those insulting police officers could be fined up to €600. Burning a national flag could cost the perpetrator a maximum fine of €30,000".
The police action and the enactment of new, harshly repressive laws come at the same time as the Spanish state is implementing deeply unpopular austerity measures, part of a European-wide attack on working conditions. In response, mass popular movements have arisen to contest these measures and it is surely no coincidence that the state now aims to criminalise these movements and their activities.
On Tuesday, we will be joining the tens of thousands of workers in Spain who have already mobilised in response to state terror and repression to demand: the immediate release of the anarchists; the repeal of the new gag laws and; an end to the attack upon working conditions and workers' movements in Spain.
Please join us outside the Spanish consulate in Melbourne at midday on Tuesday, December 23 and let workers in Spain know that they do not struggle alone.