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Spain: Minor Beaten by Catalonia's Police, Call for Minister to Resign

Categories: Spain, Citizen Media, Digital Activism, Elections, Freedom of Speech, Governance, Human Rights, Politics, Protest
Imatge d'una furgoneta de la policia amb el cartell electoral de CiU: "La voluntat d'un poble"- Andy Ríos Jara (Foto utilitzada amb permís)

Image of a police van alongside a CiU campaign poster, which reads: “The will of a people” – Andy Ríos Jara (Photo used with permission)

The use of force by Catalonia's police force, Els Mossos d’Esquadra [1] [ca], during November 14, 2012's general strike [2] [ca] (#14N [3] [ca]), has brought about a wave of online condemnation. The events, which took place in the middle of an historic [4] electoral campaign, has caused four of the region's political parties to petition [5] [ca] for Catalonia's Interior Minister Felip Puig, to resign.

One of the more controversial cases is of two minors who were attacked by the police during the suppression of protestors who had allegedly acted violently. Authorities have commissioned an investigation [6] [ca].

The Catalan news agency, ACN [7] [ca], released a video [8] [ca] of the moment the minors were beaten by the police. It has since been uploaded to Youtube and gone viral with over 500, 000 hits.

As the video above shows, during the police suppression of protestors, a thirteen-year-old boy received a serious blow and fell to the ground. While he held his head and his family members came to his aid, a second officer arrived and dealt further blows to his back. On the same block, a pair of officers cornered and hit a young girl, also a minor, who had booed them.

Fotomuntatge amb la foto del noi ferit i els eslògans de CiU: "La voluntat d'un poble" i "Fem-ho possible"- Daniel Aguilar [9]

“The will of the people” and “Let it possible” – Photo uploaded by Twitter user @protozoo (Daniel Aguilar)

The online journal delcamp.cat [10] [ca], which had been publishing special coverage of the strike, spoke with the boy's parents, who claimed that he needed five stitches.

El nen ha estat transportat amb un cotxe particular a l’hospital, ja que, segons denuncien els pares, els Mossos han impedit que una ambulància accedís a atendre l’infant.

Un dels familiars del nen ha destacat que els agents que han participat en aquest operatiu no anaven identificats.

The boy has been transported to the hospital, even though, according to his parents, the Mossos tried to prevent an ambulance from accessing the area and attending to him.

One of the boy's family members added that the police officers who participated in the event could not be identified.

In an official statement [11] [ca], the Mossos claimed that in the moment depicted by the video, the officers were “guaranteeing the free circulation of consumers at a local shopping mall”:

En el transcurs d’aquesta persecució, un agent ha carregat amb la defensa [la porra] contra un manifestant que havia actuat anteriorment amb violència i, el rebot de la defensa en la motxilla del perseguit, ha tocat el cap d’un menor que estava darrera i fora de la visió de l’agent actuant.

Un segon agent ha corregut darrera per cobrir el primer mosso propiciant un cop de defensa a les natges d’una persona que estava en un grup agenollat al terra rodejant el menor, desconeixent, el mosso, els fets succeïts.

During the course of events, an officer had to use force to defend himself from a protestor who had acted violently. His club bounced off the backpack of the assailant and collided with the head of a minor who was behind and out of the officer's sight.

A second officer — unaware of what had just happened — than ran behind to cover him, delivering a defensive blow to the buttocks of an individual kneeling on the floor in a group of people surrounding the minor.

Another case has surfaced, in which a woman in Barcelona lost vision [12] [ca] in one eye. Witnesses and the doctor who operated on the woman claim that she was the victim of a rubber bullet, but Interior Minister Puig has denied the use of such weapons. The activist group Stop Bales de Goma or “Stop Rubber Bullets” has compiled testimonies [13] [ca] of the case.

A handfull of dissenting hashtags have surfaced, most notably #CiUésviolència [14] [ca] and #PuigDimissió [15] [ca]. The former translates to “Ciu is violence” and refers to Catalonia's ruling party, to which Mr. Puig belongs. The latter calls for Mr. Puig's resignation.

@ferrer_marc [16] -Papa,com ha anat la feina avui? -Doncs mira li he obert el cap a un noi com tu. #PuigDimissió [15]Aquesta no és la policia que volem!

@ferrer_marc [16] “Dad, how was work today?” “Well, son, I split open the head a little boy just like you!” #PuigDimissió [15] This is NOT the police force we want!

@_cafeambllet [17] Mireu gent de @ciu [18]: aquesta és l'identificació de la poli alemanya: http://imageshack [19] Si no feu dimitir Puig demà, sou cómplices.

@_cafeambllet [17] Take a closer look @ciu [18] politicians: here's how the German police can be identified: http://imageshack [19] If you don't force Puig's resignation immediately, you are complicate.

@salvadorcot [20] Si es vol suport cívic a feines perilloses com la d'ahir a Via Laietana, els Mossos no han de donar mai un cop de més http://www.naciodigital.cat/noticia/48847/necessitem/millor/policia [21]

@salvadorcot [20] If they want public support for dangerous jobs like yesterday's, the Mossos better never hit anyone again  http://www.naciodigital.cat/noticia/48847/necessitem/millor/policia [21]

Concerned netizens organized protests [22] [ca] in Tarragona and Barcelona the day following the clashes and have used Change.org [23] to organize a petition [24] [ca] demanding the Interior Minister's immediate resignation. The initiative's principal organizers urge participants to send the following message along with their signature.


Departament d'interior (Generalitat de Catalunya)

Demostrin que vivim en un país democràtic i actuïn en conseqüència: Investiguin, identifiquin i cessin els responsables de l'agressió a dos menors d'edat a Tarragona durant la vaga general del 14 de Novembre


[Your name]

To Whom It May Concern:
At The Department of The Interior of The Government de Catalonia,Show us that we live in a democratic country and take meaningful action: investigate, identify and dismiss those responsible for the use of violence against two minors in Tarragona during the general strike on November 14th.Sincerely,
[Your Name]