Photo: Protestors in Sarrià with a banner reading “Enough Impunity. Sarrià’s is anti-fascist.” (Credit: Vilaweb)
By: Catalan News Agency / Vilaweb Staff writers
From 29th March, 2018
More than five hundred people took to the streets of Sarrià (Barcelona) to condemn the arson of the popular Atheneum Community centre, which took place this morning [March 29th]. The Catalan Police are working on the basis that the fire was intentional and, inside the burned out former-farmhouse, Nazi and fascist graffiti was daubed. At the head of the group of demonstrators, the main banner rang out with the slogan “Enough impunity. Sarrià is anti-fascist” and calls of “Sarrià will be the tomb of fascism” could be heard as the protest made its way from Plaça del Consell de la Vila, where it started. From there, it past through the burned out building, and on to Via Augusta. Then on towards Plaça d’Artós, where the route was expected to finish, but at Plaça de Josep Obiols the Mossos d’Esquadra Mobile Brigade (Brimo) had closed access by the time it arrived. The participants in the demonstration denounce that the Atheneum suffered a fascist attack and that the neighborhood has long been subjected to such aggression, without any proper investigation. That is why they were demanding that the Mossos d’Esquadra and the Guàrdia Urbana de Barcelona investigate this latest catastrophic attack.
Photos by Albert Salamé
When the protesters went down the main street of Gracia they found a police cordon which had closed Josep Obiols square and prevented them from moving forward. The organisers of the protest tried to negotiate with the Mossos to be allowed to get to Plaça d’Artós, where they wanted to finish the route because it is one of the points, as they explained, where fascist groups are reportedly said to gather, and it was suspected that they might have been behind the attack. The Mossos, however, did not agree to this, nor let them pass.
One of the organizers explained the situation to the participants and asked them to head towards the burned Athenian, but the protesters refused. They advanced to the police line and stood in front of them, rebuking them for not letting them advance. This stalemate lasted about an hour, until the organisers announced that they were ending the protest, and left. A few dozen demonstrators remained at that location, but the concentration of protestors gradually dissolved.
Photos by Albert Salamé
The demonstration had begun with a concentration in the Plaça del Consell de la Vila, where members of the Athenian and neighbors of the neighborhood met. In a manifesto, they denounced “fascism in capital letters, which lately we have seen as manifested as attacks pmpeople on the street, frightening the neighborhood and now burning an important social center that is part of the heritage of the city.”
In declarations to the media, Laia, a member of the Atheneum, pointed out that with the mobilization they wanted to “respond, not only at the level of Sarrià, but at the level of Barcelona as a whole, to the fascist aggressions that we have been suffering for months, which are going unpunished.” Laia explained that since October the Athenian has suffered attacks, but neighbors in the neighborhood have also been the target of insults and aggressions. He also assured that the Athenian neighbors have taken the police to the attacks, but he regretted that the “complaints have not been brought anywhere” and that they have been the ones who have sought information to find out who is behind the attacks .