Conjuring up memories of Franco’s dictatorship, a peaceful student protest in Spain was violently disturbed by police assaults on harmless minors.
A peaceful protest against budget cuts in education in Valencia, Spain on Tuesday ended in bloody police repression. Conjuring up memories of Franco’s brutal dictatorship, squads of riot police violently assaulted a group of some 300 students, arresting at least 26 and leaving scores injured. YouTube footage displayed a policeman forcefully pushing two girls onto a car, while photos emerged of young kids with bloodied faces surrounded by riot police.
While the regional police chief branded the students “as the enemy” and insisted that riot police had merely deployed “proportioned physical force”, reporters on the scene confirmed that the baton-wielding police forces had even fired rubber bullets at the students. Despite the Spanish newspaper El Publico reporting “brutal police aggression”, hundreds of students took back to the streets in the evening and encircled the University of Valencia in protest.
Tuesday’s demonstrations, which come a day after over a million Spaniards took to the streets to contest the governments’s labor reforms, marked the fourth straight day of student protests in Spain’s third largest city. Valencia is one of the most heavily hit regions in Spain’s crippling debt crisis, and with the newly-appointed Rajoy government pushing through even more harsh austerity measures, budget cuts have left most schools without heating.
The images coming out of Valencia have already caused widespread indignation on social media and in the Spanish press, and are likely to feed into further protests in the days ahead. Solidarity demonstrations have been called in Madrid and Barcelona. As we previously pointed out after the crackdowns in Barcelona, New York and Oakland, this type of police violence will, in the end, only further reinvigorate our resistance.