Repression in Catalonia: Arrests of Palestine solidarity activists and criminalization of the resistance

On March 18, the Mossos d’Esquadra (Editor’s note: autonomous police of Catalonia) arrested 10 comrades in Barcelona, ​​including one of our comrades from Samidoun Catalonia, as part of a coordinated repression operation targeting activists and participants in the day of struggle for Palestine on 7 February in Catalonia. This day of action, convened under the slogan “Estimem la vida, defensem Palestina, aturem el món” (Cherish life, defend Palestine, support the world), was a call to raise the level of disruption and protest and to directly highlight and target the institutions and businesses involved in and complicit with Israeli colonization and genocide in Palestine. Thousands of people came from dozens of cities in Catalonia to participate in the actions, and the demonstration ended in the afternoon in Barcelona.

In a coordinated manner, on 18 and 19 March, the Mossos followed the comrades throughout their daily activities until surprising them in different places and arresting them. After two nights held in jail, the comrades were accused of disturbing public order, causing damage, illegal demonstration and “criminal grouping.” On Wednesday 20 March, they were released with precautionary measures. Although the sentence being sought by the prosecutors is not yet known, if they are convicted, they could face penalties ranging from large fines to years of imprisonment.

It is worth mentioning that last November, in Barcelona, ​​the Mossos arrested 9 people for a disruptive action in a hotel belonging to a Zionist linked to the military and oil industry of “Israel.”

The criminalization of solidarity with Palestine is not new in Spain, nor in Catalonia. However, since the Palestinian resistance in Gaza launched Operation Al Aqsa Flood on 7 October, the Spanish state has strengthened its repressive strategy, in particular against disruptive mobilizations in support of Palestine, aligning itself with anti-Palestinian European policies, showing support for the Zionist regime and safeguarding its imperialist interests in the region. Examples of this European policy include the banning of Samidoun in Germany or the banning of demonstrations, keffiyehs and Palestinian flags in areas in France and the United Kingdom.

These arrests in Catalonia constitute a repressive measure that seeks to prevent more combative and challenging forms of action that not only highlight or question the responsibility of Spanish and Catalan institutions and businesses in the genocide, but also seek to inflict financial losses and extract a cost to their economic interests.

Currently, the Spanish state has more than six active cases of repression of activists related to the mobilizations in support of Palestine that have taken place since October 2023. Indeed, the accusation of belonging to a “criminal group” reveals the attempt by the Spanish state to extend to pro-Palestinian organizations the international plan aimed at criminalizing Palestinian resistance in Gaza through the accusation of “terrorism.”

As Samidoun, we reject the logic that seeks to force the internationalist solidarity movement to silence its support for the right of the Palestinian people to resist occupation by all means at their disposal. This right is also internationally recognized by resolution 3070 of the United Nations General Assembly.

If showing our support for Palestinian resistance in the form of street protests, boycotts, demonstrations, temporary closures and other direct actions against businesses involved in genocide means that activists in solidarity with Palestine will now be accused of “criminal grouping,” then the way forward is to escalate our strongest solidarity and organization against repression in order to respond effectively to this incident and similar and forthcoming cases.

At the same time, it is not only legitimate to increase the disruptiveness of our political activity at a time when the Israeli, Spanish and European war machine threatens the existence of the Palestinian people and the peoples of the world. It is our responsibility to do so and to emphasize the legitimacy of the right of the Palestinian people to armed resistance, using the means of protest at our disposal.

The Spanish government, with Pedro Sánchez at its head, with the liar and warlord José Manuel Albares in foreign affairs and with its government partner Sumar, are not only complicit in the Israeli genocide in Palestine, they are direct collaborators. They drop boxes of rice and sugar from helicopters that crush Palestinians in the Gaza concentration camp, while selling bombs, grenades, torpedoes, mines and missiles to the Israeli settler army so that it can carry out the massacre. It is clear to us that the Spanish government is an essential element of the NATO terrorist gang, which is the crutch of imperialism, and that it is teaming up with those who invaded Iraq, Afghanistan or Libya.

We are a part of the global resistance for Palestine, and the international anti-imperialist struggle in our country. We will therefore continue to work until the Spanish State cuts off all relations with the genocidal Israeli regime, in particular political, diplomatic and economic relations, represented by trade agreements and arms contracts. We will continue until we achieve the full repeal of the “gag law,” which today serves to suppress anti-genocide protests and many others. We will also continue to make visible and normalize in our territory the legitimate right of the Palestinian people to resist by all possible means.

Thus, from Samidoun in the Spanish State and our international network, we express our solidarity and unconditional support to the comrades arrested in Catalonia. We demand that all charges against them are dropped and we reiterate their right to demonstrate and mobilize strong and disruptive actions that are more necessary than ever to put an end to the complicity of the Spanish State in the Palestinian genocide, to end Zionist colonialism and to liberate all of Palestine, from the river to the sea!

Freedom to Palestine, freedom to the prisoners, long live the resistance!