Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Mossos d'Esquadra de Barcelona

Los Mossos d'Esquadra are the Barcelona police force.

The video is in Barcelona not Oakland, but the visuals and the action are strikingly similar. The police in both cities assault citizens, generally unprovoked, and typically with a casual nonchalance that the very least is disconcerting.

In the video, a couple on bicycles are fired upon by Mossos using "less than lethal" munitions. The projectile lands at their feet, and the young man shouts at the police, and they continue firing. For no reason.

Well. This was the evening of the day of the Spanish General Strike, March 29, 2012, and there had been... erm... confrontations throughout the day between strikers, protesters, and the Mossos. Many of the plastic garbage dumpsters used in Barcelona had been burned and a lot of windows of (mostly) multinational companies had been broken. The Mossos were dashing around the city in their Mossos Vans trying to intimidate protesters and squelch riots, but by evening, most of the disturbances had ceased and people were just standing around in the streets, as you can see in the video, while police maintained skirmish lines here and there in a show of force.

And there were incidents like this.

The impunity with which the police behave -- whether in the United States or Spain or practically anywhere else these days -- is one of the most striking aspects of this and so many other encounters between police and citizens. It's not so much the casual brutality, though that is just as important. It is the utter impunity with which they engage in such behavior, as if they know that they will never face any consequences.

It's yet another reason why there is a global revolution under way.


  1. About your observation, What has changed? Why all the senseless brutality?

  2. Impunity is the common thread through all the accounts of police brutality I've come across lately.

    When police forces know that pretty much regardless of what they do to the People they will be protected from any repercussion by the State, they'll behave just as we see.

    They have no reason or incentive not to.

    And then increasing brutality becomes institutionalized. The example of the University of California police is instructive. Brutality toward protesters on campus became so institutionalized within the UC Police system years ago that the police were literally incapable of recognizing their own behavior as brutal during the Occupy and other protests on campus; they were merely following their understanding of policy, and as such, they were not engaging in "brutality" at all, but simply "doing their jobs," which to their way of looking at it was "protecting" the health and safety of students, faculty and staff.

    Governments and administrations which allow such attitudes of impunity to become established -- as has been the case with police forces all over the country and the world -- ultimately find themselves captive to their guardians and protectors, and so here we are.

    It's devilishly hard to change...