Society 03/03/2021

Prison for the most "active" group against the police at the Hasél protests

The court accuses them of attempted murder for the burned van of the City police

Pau Esparch / Germán Aranda
3 min
One of the detainees that the Mossos moved Monday to the ship Mataró
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Barcelona / Canet de Mar / MataróThe Barcelona police court has ordered provisional detention without bail for eight of those arrested in Saturday's riots in Barcelona. They are part of the group that is linked to the anarchist movement and the riots in the Catalan capital that left the image of a van of the Guardia Urbana burning, according to the General Commissariat of Information of the Mossos d'Esquadra, dedicated to the fight against terrorism. They are being investigated for the crimes of belonging to a criminal group, attempted murder - due to burning the van whilst a police agent was inside of it -, attack on law enforcement officers, demonstration or unlawful assembly, public disorder and damage. The detainees appeared Tuesday before the court of instruction number 17 of Barcelona and only answered the questions of their defense.

According to the Mossos, the eight people who are part of the group - five men and three women of legal age - acted on Saturday "with a very high degree of violence". They are six Italians - five men and one woman -, a Frenchwoman, and a Catalan. Apart from burning the van, the police link them with the damage made to banks, looting in shops, and damage to street furniture. That night the worst riots took place since the protests against the imprisonment of Pablo Hasél began. 14 people were arrested for the riots in Barcelona, but the focus is on about half of those who were arrested.

The action of spraying the police vehicle with flammable liquid was made by the Italian woman of the group, although the Mossos believe that the eight detainees intervened "together". The agent who was driving it went out through the passenger door. The police explain that in previous mobilizations had already detected "a very active group with a high level of organization" that acted against the agents. According to the force, they covered each other to avoid arrests, taking advantage of the bulk of people attending the demonstrations. The Mossos say that on Saturday they acted with the aim of "neutralizing" this group: first they arrested seven members, and later the eighth.

"We do not want to talk"

The police also went this Monday with the detainees to two squat houses of Canet de Mar and Mataró, where they reside. The agents searched the warehouses, and on this Tuesday those who still live there did not want to talk. "Out! You won't get anything out of here", a young woman with an Italian accent shouted through the window of the Mataró building. "Things are very firey, we still do not know very well what this is all about", responded in a much friendlier manner and in Spanish - with a Galician accent - a man in his 40s at the door of the old factory Can Jover de Canet, a modernist building designed by Puig and Cadafalch that closed in 2011 after 126 years dedicated to textiles.

The old factory Can Jover in Canet, one of the squat houses that were registered by the police

The mayor of Canet, Blanca Arbell, says that the municipal police already controlled the squatters who lived in this old factory and that this has facilitated the interventions. Duna, a neighbour who lives in front of the building, places the number of people who have moved in and out of the building since it was occupied at around ten.

Duna guarantees to have seen how a man who manages to the house from the beginning, an Italian of about 50 years of age, according to her, "beat" another one that tried to make damages to the warehouse. "During the day sometimes vans arrived with furniture, but when they came at night you could see that they wanted to hide whatever they brought", explains again Duna, who describes the Italian as the "leader" of the house. They hung a sign on the front of the house saying "The real virus is capitalism".

Video of the squat houses registered in Canet de Mar and Mataró

Parties and illegal concerts

In Mataró, Estrella, a neighbor of the building squatted for about three years, also notes that there was "a leader" of about 35 or 40 years, older than the rest of the young people living in the house. According to Maria José, who also owns the bar in front of the building, there are about ten people who speak "Spanish, Catalan, Italian and French", who have never created any problems with the neighbours apart from the illegal parties and concerts, which they all agree there have been three, two of them during the pandemic.

"Once I went to a concert and the music was so loud that you couldn't even hear the singer's voice"; says Héctor, who lives next to the building and has not had any contact with the squatters since then. Curiously, he was one of the founders of the Office of Occupation of Barcelona and ended up dissociating himself from the movement, because of disagreements with the most radical wing and the lack of strategy. "They voted in assembly whether to break my legs. Luckily they said no. The most individualistic anarchism is being imposed, that of destroying everything even if nothing is achieved", he says.

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