Human Journalism – best articles from periodismohumano.com

Text and photos: Pablo Garrigós / Translation María José Domínguez

Valencia. Act. 18 Feb.- What started as a non-violent protest of students of Lluís Vives High School in València( Spain) against educational cuts and non-payments of the Municipal Public Education Departments (Consell en la Educación Pública) is becoming a big deal for the new municipal government representative, Paula Sánchez de León.

Six people are under arrest, one of them a 20-years-old female student who had to be hospitalized of head wound. This is in addition to the ten arrested yesterday. At this moment, a hundred people are gathered in front of the Court House waiting in support of the students cause and expecting them to be released.

The gathering of the supporters was initiated through social network, as it was done the previous days, to ask for the release of the students arrested at the High school entrance. At least five hundred people meet on Xàtiva and Marqués de Sotelo streets holding slogans like “Freedom for the arrested”, “We want to srike like the Greeks” and “Less police and more education”. The confluence of people obligated traffic to be diverted.

Everything was normal until 2 p.m. when students decided to go to the Municipal Policice Office to ask for their colleagues release. The first physical conflict between Police and demostrators arise when the students passed through Colón Street. Then the demonstration went towards the police office through a nearby street and continued ahead Cádiz St. where a second police line tried to cut their way, without succeeding. At this moment of the demonstration, in the middle of Russafa neighbourhood, a small group of protesters knocked over a garbage bin but the incidents didn’t go further. Having seen that they could not stop demonstrators to reach the police office, the police escorted them to there. At this point a group of 300 people sat in front of the gate and they shouted slogans such as “they call it Democracy and it is not” or “With this wood we could make a fire” (In Spanish “wood” refers to police).

After an hour or protest, policemen surrounded students and they stopped them by blocking both sides of Zapadores st. This caused a increase of tension among demonstrators and Nacional Police. Instantly and without uttering a word, the cornered students were taken (one by one at first and then in groups of twenty) in order to be identified. Clara, LLum or Ana are some of the arrested this afternoon on Zapadores st. They relate to Human Journalism what happened to them once they were taken out from the group: “They noted our personal information and they advised us that if we were caught again in another illegal demonstration (this meeting is without permit from Government) they would arrest us”. LLum adds that in her case everything was a misunderstanding : “I didn’t do anything to be identified. I just came to the meeting to see if what was said by the media about yesterday was true, and when tension rose up I went back and I run into the police line. They did not want to let me pass. I explained them that I did not want to be there and that I wanted to go home, but they did not let me. Only when a friend of mine fainted , they let us go, carrying her.”

However, as there was not any kind of mediation, some police intervention ended up charging the demonstrators and they caused seven injured people, among them a young girl head wounded. Furthermore another young girl suffered a nerve attack when she was being identified and two more girls ha blood pressure drops.

However, students were not the only ones that went to the police office. Their parents also showed up and witnessed everything from the other side of the police line, since they could not get their children until the policemen released one by one.

Around 6 pm all the students had been identified. Most of them go back to their houses to calm themselves and to forget the trauma. Nevertheless, a lot of them went to City Court to find out how their arrested colleagues were, six of them today, accused of “disobedience to authority and public disorder”

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(Fotografías Pablo Garrigós)

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