Lesbo-homo-transphobic police – Complicit justice

During the first week of June 2005, “Queeruption 8, Karcelona” took place near Barcelona. The event was a self-organized international gathering of radical queers. During the gathering different activities took place both inside and outside of the spaces that had been prepared for the event.  One of the many initiatives took the form of a playful, festive, and revindicative demonstration through the commercial gay zone of Barcelona, the Gayxample, and was meant as a critique of the bars, clubs, and businesses which are geared towards the gay public and which play an important role in the creation of the stereotype of what it is to be gay, the ghettoizing and marketing of our sexualities, and pink capitalism. At the same time, the demonstration also had the goal of inviting people to festively “occupy” public space and above all to make visible the existence of other spaces which lie outside of the circuit of commercial exchange – spaces where we can escape from heteronormativity and homo-lesbo-transphobia.  
During the course of the this colorful demonstration, explanatory pamphlets were handed out, different slogans were cheered, a lot of noise was made and some people even decorated the walls with their thoughts. But there were also moments of poor communication which caused misunderstandings between some of the clients of the commercial establishments and some of the participants in the demonstration.  As part of our fight against lesbo-trans-homophobia, we would have liked to avoid the negative feelings which some people experienced. There were also moments of confusion and tension between some of the demonstrators and the business owners or managers of one of the establishments which ended with a broken flowerpot and damages in the reception lounge of the gay luxury hotel, the Axel.

After the demo had ended, leaving some of the demonstrators in Plaza Universidad, men appeared who, without identifying themselves as agents of the national police, began to attack and brutally arrest the people that they encountered there. People who witnessed how their friends were attacked and thrown to the ground approached with the intention of stopping the attacks but were then also arrested. In the end nine completely arbitrary arrests took place.

The detainees were continuously humiliated. Once at the police station, they were brought one by one to a room where they were forced to undress. The police insulted them, using various homophobic phrases such as, “Faggot, I'm gonna stick my nightstick up your ass,” “You're worthless as a man. You don't count for shit, faggot,” “Girl, you're rougher than a piece of sandpaper.” While this was going on, the rest of the detainees were handcuffed to a bench in the adjoining room where they could easily hear the screams of their peers who were with the police.

Physical aggressions took place, for example, “...[the policeman] hit one detainee in the head so hard with his fist that the person's head bounced against the head of another detainee and after that he kicked the same detainee in the chest, producing a nervous shock which included tremors and loss of breath. We asked for a doctor but the police laughed at us without even giving the injured detainee a glass of water...” (extract from the testimony of one of the detainees).

Some of the detainees were neither Spanish nor Catalan speakers and yet the police denied them access to translators who would have made it easier for them to understand what was happening.

Two days later, after appearing before a judge, the detainees were granted provisional release awaiting trial. Their charges include bodily harm, public disorder, property damage, and resisting authority. The district attorney is asking for 2 ½ years of prison and 11,400 euros in fines for one detainee and 1 ½ years of prison and between 5,700 and 11,000 euros in fines for the others. There is no evidence which links the detainees to the actions of which they are accused, especially as the arrests were made completely arbitrarily, a fact which is demonstrated by the arrest of one woman who was only passing through Plaza Universidad.

Five of the nine detainees made official accusations against the National Police for torture, mistreatment, and trans-lesbo-homophobia suffered at the police station. These accusations were filed away by a local judge two times in a row before being sent to a higher court, the Audiencia Provincial, which ordered an investigation into the events.  But on the date when the accused officers were meant to testify before a judge, said officers did not appear in court and the accusations were once again filed away. This fact was cited and denounced by Amnesty International in their 2007 report entitled, Spain: Adding insult to injury: The effective impunity of police officers in cases of torture and other ill-treatment (pages 49-52).  www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/EUR41/006/2007/en

And now, after the police have emerged yet again unpunished for the abuse and torture which they commited, right at this very moment we are awaiting the trial of the nine detainees which will take place on April 27 and which, in the worst case scenario, will result in jail time and 80,000 euros worth of fines for these nine people.

Given the gravity of these events, WE DEMAND:
-The ABSOLUTION of all of the detainees.
-The impunity with which the police act and lie
-The abuse, torture, aggessions, and homo-trans-lesbphobic humiliations which our comrades received at the hands of the police.

We encourage everyone to come to the concentration in front of the courthouse on April 27, 2009.
Please keep yourselves informed regarding the latest updates.