Spain: Pandora’s Box

spain_demoMeetings attended by thousands of people have been held in several cities of Spain in the wake of arrests of anarchists by police on the morning of December 16. In the course of a special operation code-named “Pandora”, the police tracked down activists whom they intended to accuse of organizing terrorist acts. As a result, 14 people were arrested; three were later released.

This operation against the libertarian movement was conducted by the Spanish Audiencia Nacional [a special unit of the judiciary to combat “terrorism”] and the Catalonian police. Round-ups, searches, and arrests were carried out at squats of the “Casa de la Montaña” district of Barcelona, at the libertarian San-Andres reading room, and the anarchist Poble-Sec reading room, as well as at 15 private homes. The inhabitants were caught by surprise. At the same time, several adjacent streets were blocked off and the district was cordoned off to the south to prevent access to a park. Hundreds of riot police took part in the operation. Searches and arrests were also conducted in Madrid (

Among the arrested were seven women and four men, aged 31 to 36, Spaniards, as well as emigrants from Uruguay, Italy, and Austria (

Anarchists and anarcho-syndicalists interpreted the police operations and arrests as the beginning of a new wave of repressions against the anarchist movement against the background of a deepening crisis, the growth of dissatisfaction of the population, and the cranking up of repressive laws. The first small actions of protest in Barcelona began soon after the arrests.

Later anarchists coordinated their actions through social networks and arranged mass-scale actions of protest in Madrid, Barcelona, Girona, and Zaragoza, Valladolid, and Salamanca. Meetings ended with clashes with police.

In the centre of Madrid, anarchists tried to set up barricades. Actions were started at the Tirso de Molina Plaza, but soon the crowds spilled into the adjacent streets. There are reports of 3 to 5 arrests, charged with disturbance of the peace.

In the Catalonian capital three thousand people took to the streets, demanding the released of the arrested. Meetings took place mainly in the Gracia district, where early on Tuesday morning (December 16) arrests took place. Around 6:00 pm anarchists gathered at Plaza del Diamante. They demanded the release of the arrested persons and shouted slogans. For example: “The only terrorist is a state-capitalist”. Then they set out on a march through the streets of the city, not avoiding confrontations with the police who were blocking the path of the demonstrators. In retaliation, the demonstrators began to break the windows of banks and real estate agencies, overturn and set on fire waste receptacles, and smash the windows of parked cars (…).


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