Eviction of Puerta del Sol backfires — big time!

by Jerome Roos on August 2, 2011

Post image for Eviction of Puerta del Sol backfires — big time!

Tens of thousands of indignados bring Madrid to a complete standstill in a spontaneous and defiant bid to reclaim Puerta del Sol from the police.

It was to be expected. When municipal and national police evicted and destroyed the 15-M information booth at Puerta del Sol this morning, destroying the spiritual heart of the protest movement (including the banners, pictures and pieces of art which had been so painstakingly collected over the past 2,5 months), they knew they were in for a ride.

That’s why they came with 300 of them, in 20 armed vehicles, blocking off the entire square and taking absolutely no chances whatsoever that the indignados would come back in larger numbers to reclaim the square. All day long, they kept the square hermetically sealed off, even closing the Sol metro station — one of the largest and most important in the city.

But what happened tonight — in fact, what is on display right now, as I’m writing this — came unexpected even for myself. Given the unbearable heat of summer, most madrileños generally flee the city to the countryside in the month of august. This is probably why the police only made their decisive move now, instead of a few weeks ago. They expected less resistance than before.

But tonight, it looks like no one ever really left Madrid. Tens of thousands of people have completely blocked Madrid’s city center in a spontaneous outburst of indignation at the disrespectful removal of protesters from the movement’s ground-zero. At 20:00, thousands of indignados were crammed into all six access routes to Sol, with a genuine army of police (including at least 50 vans, according to El País) keeping them out.

When they realized they couldn’t take the square, the protesters quickly dissolved into a dozen side-streets and regrouped on a number of key locations: Cibeles, Atocha and Congreso, among them. For hours now, protesters have been blocking all the main traffic arteries in the city center. The mass protest is now reported to be headed back towards Sol for a second time, in another attempt to take back the square.

One Spanish journalist, writing for El País, just Tweeted that the situation is becoming increasingly untenable. “How are they going to stop so many people all trying to access Sol from the same access route?” Apparently the protesters are chanting furiously “let’s evict the police camp!” The atmosphere, according to journalists contributing to this live blog, is extremely tense, with hundreds of police in full riot gear being forced back by the sheer volume of people present.

It was always stupid to try and kick the protesters out of the square. Just as we wrote before, during the violent attempt to clear protesters off the main square in Barcelona two months ago, these type of actions tend to backfire and blow up right in the face of the authorities. Today’s eviction gave the movement exactly what it needed: another symbol of injustice to fight against, another cause behind which to rally — in this case, freedom of expression and freedom of assembly.

Either way, the result of the government’s folly has been to galvanize the movement at a time when most people considered it dormant. The eviction of Sol even sparked Barcelona back to life: tonight, the popular assembly at AcampadaBCN decided to re-occupy Plaça de Catalunya for at least one night in solidarity with the indignados of Madrid. Similar actions are being sparked in cities across the country.

We will get back to you tomorrow with the latest news on the backlash — and the epic attempt to take back Puerta del Sol from the authorities.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Mabel August 3, 2011 at 00:20

Please take care of yourselves. You´re the Heart of it all, Sol.

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jude August 3, 2011 at 00:32

ROCK ON SPAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So very proud of you all…may your courage rub off on more of our sleeping, apathetic citizens…don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got till its gone…that needs to CHANGE!! God bless your hearts and souls…awakened Americans are with you…and love you

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Javi August 3, 2011 at 01:13

thanks jude, but the world needs spread this movements everywhere, specially in the US, you need to shut down the Federal Reserve and stop this madness, and do it for the rest of the world. Stop this psico of the New WorlD Order. dont be afraid!!!

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Robert Julius August 3, 2011 at 04:10

Thanks go out hto the people of Madrid , and to Roarmag. Giving us information in English so everyone can follow what is going on, written clearly and always up to date. Please kee up the good work and find me if you need help. How do people contribute to Roarmag? Im curious about this.

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Carmen August 3, 2011 at 09:36

Hasta la victoria siempre !!! The UK is organising a mass demonstration in Manchester 2.O !!!! We will be tacking the square !!! Spain is leading the way for the citizen’s of Europe :-) …. Don’t give up !! Never Give up !!!! from MCR, UK in Solidarity ….. We ALL have to do our bit, stand in our own power…. there is more of us, that is OUR STRENGTH !!!!!!! We have the right to be FREE !!!

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GoForIt August 3, 2011 at 20:36

The police line looks so thin, why don’t they just push it aside?

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carlos silva August 4, 2011 at 01:01

Estas imagens são a demonstração cabal da falência do sistema capitalista como forma de organização política e social deste tempo em que como tambem demonstram estas imagens ALGO está a mudar imparavelmente, apesar da repressão que necessariamente a burguesia não deixará de levar às máximas consequências, na vã tentativa de permanecer agarrada ao poder.
Tempos de mudança são estes tempos!
Pela vitória da Democracia!
O POVO VENCERÁ!

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gill August 5, 2011 at 00:49

loving you people. you are showing us the way forward. love and peace to you all from escosia xx

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