Barcelona - General Strike, Bank occupations & riots on day of action


Bank occupied during general strike in BarcelonaYesterday’s General Strike in the Spanish state was a massive success. Large areas of Spain came to a complete halt and Barcelona saw 70% of businesses shut for the day. In a sharp contrast to the situation in Ireland workers went out to make the strike effective. Picketing was serious and effective and it was clear that workers were not sitting back at any time. Barcelona was the scene of prolonged clashes between protesters and the police during most of yesterday.

As the general strike took hold – with transports, docks and distribution, and industry all at a standstill – a broad coalition of libertarian organisations, including the anarcho-syndicalist CNT, entered and occupied a key building a on Placa De Catalunya – the Bank de Espana de Credito. At noon a large ‘manifestation’ left the occupied bank, including the anarcho-syndicalist CGT, and moved to the Universitat. Here a police car was set on fire. Following this there were running street battles throughout the afternoon. The police baton charged on a number of occasions and finally sealed off the occupied bank which by late in the afternoon had been cleared. A number of arrested were made.

CGT section on the marchThe second main ‘manifestation’ of the day got under way well after 5 pm and was led by the CGT. It was about 3-4,000 in size and moved slowly and noisily from Jardinets De Gracia down towards Via Laietana. As it did, it briefly intercepted with a large group of protestors who were building barricades and setting fire to large dustbin wheelies. Police baton charges followed the march as it moved towards Avendia Catedral where a main confrontation occurred as the march ended. It was a dangerous situation with large number of people trapped on the one hand between the alley ways surrounding where the march convened and, on the other hand, by marauding and careering riot police vehicles which made a point of driving at speed at the protestors. Paving stones were ripped up and fires set before the riot police moved in on foot. More arrests were made and a number of protestors were corralled and beaten by gangs of riot police.

Overall yesterday’s the General Strike here has been a massive success. Large areas of Spain came to a complete halt and Barcelona itself was quiet with about 70% of businesses shut for the day. In a sharp contrast to the situation in Ireland workers went out to make the strike effective. Picketing was serious and effective and it was clear that workers were not sitting back at any time. But as the protests in Barcelona showed, the deepening crisis is bringing more and more people onto the streets. This current crisis had created huge anger and yesterday it very easy to see this.

For the background to the strike see Solidarity with the general strike in the Spanish state and for news in Spanish also and

WORDS: Kevin Doyle

FireParticipation in Sept 29 General Strike in Spain`
(from El Pais newspaper):
Auto factories closed down
79% of postal workers
60% in public education, 32% in private education, 78% in universities
7.5 to 44% gov't employees depending on location
74% in metalworking
65% in energy sector
90% at major markets
80% in the food industries
70% in construction
83% in transport. Most flights canceled. Few trains running

CGT statement on the General Strike of 29 September

The outcome of the strike

Strike Breaking Bus - halted
These are our initial impressions of the outcome of today's General Strike. In certain key sectors, there was mass participation in the strike in almost the entire country. By way of example: food markets in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Valladolid, Seville and Zaragoza; the (Seat) Ford, Renault, Opel and Volkswagen car factories; petro-chemical and steel factories and plants, minerals sector, gas distribution, public services such as waste disposal and post offices, large-scale construction, port workers in Barcelona, Valencia, Algeciras and so on.

It is important to note that the demand for electricity dropped by over 20% compared to normal days.

Another sector with a very high percentage of participation was that of audio-visual communications, with the complete closure of Canale Sur and Telemadrid, and remaining public media running with minimum levels of service.

Public transport is running with the standard 25% of minimum services, while large areas of the private transport sector (airlines, road transport and marine transport of both cargo and passengers) are participating in the strike.

The CGT wishes to underline that this success has been achieved in spite of the long media campaign by authorities and industrialists against the trade union organizations and the criminalization of labour and social activities.

Similarly, the CGT wishes to express its gratitude to over one hundred labour and social organizations from all over the world who supported the General Strike.

We should also mention the numerous information pickets that were set up at the principal labour centres, something that demonstrates the enormous sense of resentment felt by the workers as a result of the unbearable situation we are being to live through because of the attack under way by politicians and industrialists.

Say no moreThe CGT also wishes to denounce in the strongest possible terms the brutality of the police attacks against workers who were simply exercising their freely-held right to strike and the right to provide information at factory gates.

As a consequence of the indiscriminate police charges, there have been several arrests and dozens of injured workers, some of whom (CGT members) are currently being held without charge.

The CGT also denounces the harassing and arrest of a group of cyclists in the Atoch zone of Madrid, which is a grave offence to their rights and freedom.

Finally, the CGT condemns the injury of a union comrade who was struck by a van belonging to the Boyaca company at the gates of the Bermont factory in Coslada (Madrid). Her injuries, though not severe, required hospital treatment.

Permanent Secretary of the CGT Confederal Committee

Wednesday, 29 September 2010 Translation by FdCA - International Relations Office for