This morning, August 2, just before sunrise, police have moved in to destroy the encampment in Paseo del Prado and all the structures left by the 15M movement in Puerta del Sol. As far as I was able to ascertain there have not been any arrests, nor any physical aggression against persons. But that doesn’t make it acceptable.
The desalojo was carried out simultaneously in Prado and Sol, with massive police deployment. I myself was sleeping in the Information Point in the Paseo del Prado. I have tried to document what I can. Everybody was taken by surprise. People sleeping in tents were awoken and brought to the central fountain where their identification was meticulously copied. Just before an officer forced me to take out the batteries from my camera I was able to shoot the following scene.
After the ID-check people were free to go. From a couple of comrades I heard that Sol was also being cleared. Fortunately I could keep my batteries, so I was able to document what was happening there. Even though I risked big time. When I took a photo of police blocking one of the streets leading to the square, two officers came up to me and requested my camera and my ID, once again. I showed it saying I was a Dutch citizen, and I cancelled the image, hoping I could continue to keep shooting. In the end I could, and I’m grateful for that.
Police deployment at Puerta del Sol
Amidst the ruins
Dismanteling the Field Kitchen and the Art Commission:
What I witnessed was pure barbarism. As if the Huns had invaded Puerta del Sol. The destruction of everything we had built up there was perpretated by the municipal cleaning department. The police was only present to seal of the center of the square and to check the roads leading up to Puerta del Sol.
Destruction of the infermary, using a bulldozer:
Rest in Peace
The city cleaners have taken away food from our field kitchen after they had torn it down. They have destroyed the infermary using a bulldozer. They have destroyed at least one citizens private property. They have destroyed many works of art.
The remainders of the Field Kitchen
Throwing away the photos of our comrades from Lisbon
The eviction of Puerta del Sol was a prime example of disrespect on the part of the authorities. They could have chosen to clean the square and to preserve the sculptures, the photos and the paintings that were exhibited there. But they didn’t. They treated everything as trash. We are a constructive movement based on peacefulness and respect. And today, in the face of the authorities’ indiscriminate vandalism, we have gained an enormous moral victory.
Municipal cleaners throwing away someones bike:
Throwing down the mast of Puerta del Sol:
According to rumours the authorities have decided to clear Puerta del Sol and the encampment in the Paseo del Prado because of the upcoming visit of the pope, in mid august. This visit is going to cost the Spanish taxpayer milions of dollars. People are pretty indignant about that. When you walk around the city you can already hear some of them warning you: ‘Watch your wallet! The pope is coming!’ After what happened today, mister Ratzinger can be sure to receive a boiling welcome from the indignados.
Watch out! The pope is coming!
Only after eight thirty the first big camera’s arrive. They slept late today. Almost everything is gone already, the cleaning officers are busy spraying the square with water. I sure hope that the media will have better reflexes tonight, because there will undoubtedly be a popular reaction to this. This type of destructive behaviour on the part of the state will not be tolerated.
Sol is ours. And we will take it back.