Firefighters in Madrid are refusing to cooperate with security services against the public.
The Madrid firefighters have announced that they will not participate professionally in situations of social protest if the police are to be present. This is in solidarity with the fireman who was arrested while carrying out his duty in the Gamonal protests. That was the last straw in a growing sense of unease at being asked to act in various ways that they felt did not pertain to their duties. Such as being asked to force people protesting to get down from street lights, participate in unlocking doors when local locksmiths refused to open doors in cases of eviction.
They have announced they will only participate in life threatening occasions.
What is Gamonal?
Gamonal is a working class neighbourhood in the supposedly conservative city of Burgos (with extremely high rates of unemployment and recent evictions and where many people are dependent on the red cross for food supplies etc). In early January the people there began protesting the construction of a new boulevard costing 20 million euros. The boulevard seemed ludicrous to people as apart from the cost it would replace a road that has 4 lanes with just two. It was also going to take away over 300 free parking spots . The whole idea seems to have been cooked up to line the pockets of a few infamous speculators and the mayor. What’s more, at the very beginning of the road works just as they were lifting the old tarmac; cracks were appearing in the neighbouring houses. The residents of Gamonal began organising against the boulevard before the road works began, twice daily assemblies to organise protests.
Over the past weeks the number of protestors has been increasing . On Friday 13th they stopped the traffic in the main artery of Burgos. Police have been brutal, armoured cars coming from Madrid , indiscriminately beating people on their way home. On Saturday the people marched to the police barracks to demand freedom for the detained from there they continued to offices of the Burgos newspaper owned by Mendez Pozo.
Early on Monday morning, the roadworks were halted by protestors. As the residents called it the ‘rubbish boulevard’ they started dumping their rubbish there. In the afternoon more and more people joined the protest and the police responded with more brutality. Young people were beaten in doorways and police were reportedly acting like there was an unauthorised curfew. A hut from the road works set on fire. The secondary school kids called a strike in protest of the detainees!
The strike increased to the whole city with the demand for the dismissal of the mayor, the withdrawal of the police and freedom for the detainees. On Tuesday they went to the streets again, and before the day was out the mayor announced that the roadworks would be officially stopped. As they have no faith in his word the protests continued by now 8 to 10 thousand people are marching. They ended up surrounding the police chanting.
There has been a snowball effect across the country with Madrid, Bilbao, Barcelona, Valencia and many more cities coming out in solidarity with Gamonal. The dominoe effect. In the social media the word is : Gamonalize! – (thanks to Joanna Thompson)
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