Solidarity with Raval: the hate crime is VOX
On August 25, 2020, the VOX MP for Almería, Rocío de Meer, in a speech in the Spanish Congress, referred to the Raval district of Barcelona as a “multicultural dung heap”, and both she and VOX as a party went on to repeat this insult on social media. In reality, the Raval is a proud, diverse and supportive working class neighbourhood.
On 2 September, VOX appeared in Raval to extend their hatred, with a strong element of racism and class elitism. The far-right visit —organized, among others, by a well-known neo-Nazi who holds an important post in VOX— produced strong rejection and outrage in the neighbourhood, which expressed itself in a broad local protest.
Faced with this situation, the Catalan police force, the Mossos, didn’t act against those who had gone to Raval to spread hatred, but against those very neighbours who wanted to defend democracy, human rights and a diverse, cohesive society.
As a sign of the extent of the neighbourhood’s rejection of what happened, on 9 September a press conference was held to present the “Raval vs VOX” declaration, signed by more than 40 local bodies.
Now, several residents of the Raval have been accused of alleged hate crimes. They are called to testify in the City of Justice on Monday, 29 March. The accused include racialized people and other anti-racist activists, and one of them is a spokesperson of Unitat Contra el Feixisme i el Racisme, Catalonia’s broad movement against racism and the far-right, as well as being one of the coordinators of the international World Against Racism network, that has just held over a hundred actions around the world, for the UN antiracism day.
Given these facts:
1. We demand the closing of the case. It is not the accused who promote hatred, but VOX, a party that defends Francoism and has relations with the armed fascists who attacked the Capitol in Washington, as well as with the Greek neo-Nazis.
2. We reiterate our outrage at the impunity of the far-right and the permissiveness of the authorities.
3. We denounce the investigations being carried out by both the Mossos and the Spanish national police into the political ideas of the accused. This kind of investigation, carried out at the request of VOX, reminds us of past times that we don’t want to go back to.
4. In a situation where real hate crimes —motivated by racism, sexism, transphobia…— are on the rise, it is outrageous that the Prosecution Service for Hate Crimes is pursuing local people who reject hatred and defend democracy and human rights. We call for a review of the application of the Penal Code with respect to hate crimes, so that it serves to protect oppressed groups such as racialized people, LGTBI, women… and not as a legal weapon for those who attack these groups.
5. We ask the whole of society and the social movements to support the accused and the Raval district in general. We call on all democratic forces to help to stop VOX, which is a threat to the rights of the vast majority.
Unity Against Fascism and Racism
Barcelona, 23 March 2021
Organisations that want to ad their name to this call: https://forms.gle/cKHxzURVrKvh4tV26