In the symbolic moment of occupation, twelve climbers climbed the emblematic building and displayed a banner of 150 square meters on the facade with the slogan: “The bank chokes us, the bosses exploit us, politicians lie to us, CC.OO. UGT sell us “and another with the emblem” against the dictatorship of capital, general strike “.
Sources of the collective convener have explained that the first intention of the occupants is to remain in the building at least until Wednesday (the day of the general strike), during which concerts, debates and all kinds of activities on the origin of the economic crisis and the need to support the break.
The program of activities for this Sunday is composed of two workshops on cooperativism and social economy and on food cooperation, a “popular lunch” and workshops from 16 to 19 hours on “tools for daily resistance”. Finally, an open General Assembly will take place, starting at seven o’clock in the afternoon, where they will decide firmly until they want the occupation of the building to last. They warn that if they are evicted, they will keep their program at the doors of the old Bank.
According to an EFE spokesman, the activists have organized themselves in different commissions to spend the first night in the building, which has been empty for years and which they say was very left behind. Thus, while some were in charge of the provisioning, others conditioned the rooms, cleaning them and installing carpet to organize the assemblies planned for the next few days. They have also made a first breakfast, with chocolate.
According to Ivan “Precario”, one of the speakers of the occupiers, these debates will analyze “new formulas” so that people who do not have work, such as unemployed, retired people and housewives can join the general strike. In addition, the activists ask the citizens to massively support the strike in order to express their protest for the governments that want to make the worker pay for the effects of an economic crisis that, in his opinion, has been provoked by the banking and capital.
The group claims the building as “a banking space at the service of the strike” and calls for a massive follow-up of the general strike. “We love the idea of the general strike, it seems an opportunity, very necessary, to externalize the discomfort,” they say, although they do not see it enough. In a statement, they regret that “between four and five million workers” will not have the right to strike because they are unemployed, as well as “millions of people” with precarious employment, who can not go on strike at the risk of being fired.
While activists are still entering the old Banco de Credito headquarters to join the protest, the Mossos d’Esquadra keep a police device in place that follows the development of the occupation from nearby streets, without intervening for the time being. The activists, nevertheless, affirm that throughout the night several “secret” (plainclothes police) have entered the building, “to assess the situation”, but that “they have gone without more”.
With this action of protest, as reported by the collective organizer in a statement sent to the press, social movements have sought to give a “surprise” to heat engines ahead of the general strike next Wednesday, coinciding with the festivities of La Mercè . In fact, the occupation of the building, which began around 7:00 p.m., coincided with several events on the program of the patron saint festivities of Barcelona organized in the central Plaza Catalunya, as a children’s choral song, a flamenco music workshop and several concerts.
The occupied building, located at numbers 10 and 11 of Plaza Catalunya and number 1 of Paseo de Gràcia, is empty since 2007, a year after it was purchased by Monteverde Real Estate Group for 110 million euros with the purpose of converting it into a luxury residential building with commercial premises.