This 26 August 2017 video shows Barcelona anti-terror demonstrators booing King Felipe VI of Spain, holding signs saying Felipe, if you love peace you should not sell arms [to Saudi Arabia]; while shouting Get out!
By Alex Lantier:
28 August 2017
The official march called Saturday after the August 17 terror attack in Barcelona turned into an unprecedented demonstration of public hostility to imperialist proxy wars in the Middle East that spawned the Islamist networks now carrying out terror attacks across Europe.
Spanish King Felipe VI, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and other top officials were greeted with booing, honking car horns, and shouts of “Your policies, our dead”. Others at the 500,000-strong march denounced Spanish weapons sales to Middle East countries like Saudi Arabia, shouting, “Felipe, if you want peace you don’t do weapons trafficking” and “Mariano, we want peace not weapons sales.” As the King and Rajoy marched, they were repeatedly met with catcalls and shouts of “Get out, get out.”
Rajoy’s conservative Popular Party (PP) government and regional authorities in Catalonia had called what they hoped would be a right-wing protest, denouncing terrorism and calling for peace and unity behind the police and the state. This backfired, however, as large numbers of protesters denounced war and official complicity with terrorism.
As the conservative Internet daily El Español confessed, pre-prepared, official “blue signs calling for peace were overwhelmed by others, that blamed the heads of state and of government for weapons trafficking, and connected the Spanish monarch to Saudi Arabia, a country accused of financing the Islamic State,” which carried out the Barcelona attack.
Protesters held pictures of King Felipe meeting Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz, or of former PP Prime Minister José Maria Aznar meeting with US President George Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair as they led the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Protesters also cited evidence of state foreknowledge or even complicity in the attack, as Madrid-Barcelona rivalries grow before the scheduled October 1 Catalan independence referendum. One man, who told El Pais that “the King cannot come to a pacifist demonstration and sell weapons to Saudi Arabia,” added that “the government hid information about the terrorists to the Mossos d’Esquadra”, the Catalan regional police.
On Sunday, Rajoy was compelled to respond to press reports of his debacle at the march. He refused to address any of the protesters’ criticisms, but arrogantly declared, “The insults of certain people, we didn’t listen to them,” and added: “Yesterday we were where we had to be and with those we had to be with, expressing our support for terror victims and showing our solidarity with the immense majority of sensible and moderate Catalans.” He called on Catalonia to abandon the scheduled October 1 independence referendum and “plans for rupture.”
Catalan officials, shocked by an outpouring of antiwar sentiment, tried to downplay it. “We should not exaggerate it,” Carles Puigdemont, the president of the Catalan Generalitat, said of the booing of the King, adding, “People expressed themselves in liberty, in conviviality, and in peace.”
Fifteen people are dead and over 100 wounded in a horrific attack in Barcelona—the latest in a spate of Islamist attacks since 2015 that have killed hundreds and wounded thousands across Europe, from Paris to Brussels, Berlin and Manchester. Imperialist wars are not a supplementary issue to terrorism, but the driving force in the eruption of Islamist terror attacks in Europe, that must be halted if these attacks are to cease.
Washington and the European powers relied on Islamist militias in the 2011 war in Libya and then in the now six-year-old war in Syria, working with Persian Gulf oil sheikdoms like Saudi Arabia to plunge billions of dollars into Islamist terror networks. They recruited tens of thousands of fighters in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia to carry out shooting or bombing raids against regimes targeted by the NATO powers. In 2012, the Pentagon designated one proxy militia, Al Nusra, as a terrorist group and Al Qaeda affiliate, though it has continued to receive NATO support.
The events in Barcelona point to explosive class conflicts now building up in Spain and across Europe. Since 2015, the ruling class has continued to tolerate terror networks as a foreign policy tool, while using the attacks these networks carried out in Europe as a pretext to press for police-state measures—imposing a state of emergency in France, placing Brussels on lockdown, or putting armed law enforcement on the streets in Britain—based on the lie that Europe was waging a “war on terror”. This lie is now wearing thin, however.
Workers, facing high unemployment and waves of social cuts imposed by the financial aristocracy across Europe, are deeply hostile to the pro-war and antidemocratic policies of the political establishment. This opposition is all the more significant and explosive in that it brings the workers objectively into conflict with the entire ruling establishment, including its nominally “left” factions.
A spate of news reports last week raised questions about US and European government foreknowledge of the August 17 terror attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils that killed 15 people and wounded more than 100, and how this attack was allowed to proceed. It is ever clearer that the Islamic State (IS) [ISIS] terror cell was under close surveillance by multiple intelligence services of NATO powers, including France, the United States, and Belgium: here.
Spanish media have confirmed that Abdelbaki es-Satty, the mastermind of the August 17 Islamic State (IS) terror attacks in Barcelona, was a police informant: here.
Spain’s Constitutional Court announced the suspension of the “transition” to independence law passed by Catalonia’s regional parliament last Friday. This comes after roughly 1 million people marched in Barcelona last Monday on Catalonia’s national day, and less than three weeks before the Catalan independence referendum scheduled for October 1: here.