At least 15 people were arrested during raids in Spain on December 17th for being part of an “anarchist terror organization” in what the Spanish government is calling Operacion Pandora.
At quarter past five, an operation consisting of Mossos d’Esquadra mobilized to carry Spain: 7 anarchist comrades jailed in Madrid following massive police operation in Barcelona and elsewhere
December 17th, 2014have raided the Kasa de la Muntanya, the Libertarian Ateneo de Sant Andreu, the Anarchist Ateneo de Poble Sec and several private homes.
On orders from the Spanish National Court, in an operation ordered by Judge Javier Gómez Bermúdez, the agents have raided the Kasa de la Muntanya, a squat which this year celebrates twenty five years of occupation. They busted the main entrance of the house to gain access while a police helicopter with spotlights hovered over the building. The twenty inhabitants of the house had to retreat into the gym whilst the police forced entry into the building. At the time of the police raid, the building had two children aged five and six years. The Mossos separated one of the kids from his father on the ground floor.
The police confiscated all mobile phones, laptops and computer devices that were found on the premises. Agents seized all types of documentation, while numerous electric home workshop tools were also confiscated in order to help the police construct their narrative.About fifty people installed a roadblock on Travessera de Dalt, in a spontaneous act of solidarity with the Kasa de la Muntanya, until riot police dispersed them a few minutes after eight o’clock. Subsequently the solidarity group moved to the Plaza Lesseps and called for more protests.
From the outside of the house located in the neighborhood of Gràcia district Salut, witnesses heard several firecrackers and said they could see in lights of several flashlights inside the building. The police operation is made up of agents from the Information Division of the Mossos d’Esquadra, accompanied by a large number of members of the Mobile Brigade which, among other tasks, formed a perimeter around the whole area and denied any access to the home.
On Tuesday (16 December) the Catalan and Spanish police arrested 11 comrades in a number of raids on three anarchist spaces in Barcelona, and private homes in Barcelona, other Catalan cities, and Madrid. (See this earlier report.)
The police named the raids “Operation Pandora”, they said they were looking for “terrorists” or “violent anarchists”.
Some stories in the media connected the raids to explosions carried out in 2013 in cathedrals in Madrid and Zaragoza (the basilica of Pilar, where the virgin Mary is supposed to have once appeared standing on a pillar), and claimed under the name of “Insurrectionalist Commando Mateo Morral” (Mateo Morral was an anarchist who attempted to assassinate the spanish king in 1906.) Five comrades were already arrested for this action last November. Two, Mónica Caballero and Francisco Solar, are still imprisoned awaiting trial. Both were previously imprisoned, and acquitted, for the “Caso Bombas” (bombs case) in Chile.
The raids were followed by lively demonstrations across many towns in Catalunya / Spain throughout Tuesday evening.
On Wednesday afternoon the arrested anarchists appeared in court before a judge named Javier Gómez Bermúdez. The judge freed 4 of the prisoners and sent 7 to the Soto del Real jail, near Madrid. (See this report in Catalan).
The arrested anarchists still haven’t been accused of any particular criminal actions, and the police dossier against them remains secret. However, they are alleged to be part of a terrorist organisation, and of possessing explosives. The explosives, it seems, are camping gas canisters. The accused also possessed a suspicious book called “Against Democracy”, and used “email accounts with extreme security measures, such as the server RISEUP” (a widely used US based activist email server).
Demonstrations against the arrests and raids continued on Wednesday. Also on Wednesday lunchtime, the public prosecutor’s headquarters (Fiscalia) in central Barcelona caught on fire and had to be evacuated, though this appears to be a coincidence. Meanwhile, in the parallel world of twitter, “#yotambiensoyanarquista” (I too am an anarchist) became the number one “trending” Spanish hashtag.
There are big demos due to take place in Barcelona and other cities on Saturday (20 December). These are mass rallies organised for some time against the “Ley Mordaza” , the repressive law brought in to shut down the social movements by banning many acts such as holding unauthorised demos or photographing police.
To the streets.
What has been made public is the judicial decree detailing the charges of the supposed crimes: incorporation, promotion, management of and membership in a terrorist organisation, possession and storage of devices or explosives and flammables, incendiary or asphyxiating, as well as the damage and destruction with terrorist purpose. Gómez Bermúdez, referring to the investigation initiated two years ago by the Mossos (Catalan Police) in relation to the “Grupos Anarquistas Coordinados – GAC” (“Coordinated Anarchist Groups”) he says, “it is concluded that its members could be allegedly the perpetrators of several attacks with home-made explosive devices throughout the country”. He explains that “17 camping-gas canisters were found and, despite the claims of the owner that they are meant for the camping gear that can be found in his van, the storage of hazardous material in such quantities at home does not seem logical.”
According to the reports prepared by the Central Information Division of the Mossos (the unit responsible for monitoring anarchist groups), which are also mentioned in the summary judgment, “during the investigation we confirmed the existence of bureaucratic and internal organisational structure, the production of publications and forms of communication”. It is also added as an indication the fact that the book “Contra la democràcia” (“Against democracy”) was distributed to members of the anarchist group and that the defendants “used emails with extreme security measures, such as the server RISE UP”. It is also considered relevant that the alleged bombings attempts attributed to GAC “had been disseminated through websites with content related to the organisation”. In a report attached to the case file entitled “Assessment of relevant evidence in support of the view that GAC is an organisation with terrorist aims”, it is said that there are dozens of signs both of “ideological unity and of the strategy to destabilise the state and seriously disturb public peace”.
Dozens of friends and relatives of the detainees gathered and remained all day at the gates of the National Court, until the police forced them to disperse because they were holding an unannounced protest. Later they all got IDed.
For his part, in his statement to La Directa, Jaume Asens, the lawyers of one of those arrested in Operation Pandora, denounces the lack of transparency in the entire case and claims that his client had to give a statement today without knowing what he was accused of.: “both the Mossos and the Prosecutor speak of terrorism without specifying concrete criminal acts, or concrete individualised facts attributed to each of them”. Asens says that this is a “disgrace for the police and the judicial system”. Tonight and tomorrow protests have been called to denounce the entire operation.