Archives for posts with tag: protest art Barcelona


Near one of the city’s most important transport hubs is the neighborhood of Sants, from which the train station gets its name. Once an independent village separate from the city of Barcelona, this residential neighborhood has a strong sense of identity due to its industrial root, and is home to what is considered to be one of the longest commercial streets in Europe, the Carrer de Sants.

Because of its rich industrial history, many of its buildings are perfect places for the once-common phenomenon of youth squats which become something like self-managed community centers, hosting all sorts of activities. As they are squats, there often arrives a moment when the building’s official owners decide to take control of the space, which usually means that squatters are asked to leave.

Such was the case of Can Vies, a squat that was established in 1997, and which became an epicenter of all manner of activities, performances and workshops. Its moment in the spotlight came in early 2014 when the building’s owner, the Barcelona Transport Authority decided to demolish the building.

The occupants, as well as others sympathetic to the squatter movement, didn’t take the forced eviction lying down, and the result were some intense days of street protests which made national news, and also spread to other Spanish cities.

The city ultimately decided to cancel the demolition, but not before destroying a good portion of the building, leaving basically ruins and parts of some of the walls. Two of the photos in this post show what remains of the squat, which has become something of a monument to resistance. The Can Vies website is still active, and activities, and plans for reconstruction, still continue.

Another photo is of a mural tribute to Can Vies which is on the previously mentioned Carrer de Sants. Finally, there are some random tidbits I found while wandering the surrounding streets.

Resistance on the corner 3: Dreams Evicted

You may remember a previous entry dedicated to the Casal Popular de Gràcia, a youth-run social centre and squat that occupied one of the more visible corners of the neighborhood, Torrent de l’Olla and Ros de Olano. After over 10 years, the city executed an eviction order, and of course faced heavy protest. There have been a handful of small protests since the initial eviction, most notably on the 30th of April, when the city sent an army of 300 gas-masked riot police to secure the neighborhood against the threat of a group of about 100 protestors. The protestors did manage to get some messages onto the grey-painted shutters which once served as the canvas for the pictures I featured on the other “resistance” entries. Translated, the first message reads “An eviction can’t erase dreams. Up with the youth!”
The second and third panels come from a small protest this past Saturday night, the 11th of May, which was also a response to the heavy-handed police reactions to peaceful protest on the 30th. These stencils were painted on one of the common neighborhood targets for the crisis and corruption provoked-ire on the streets: the branch of “La Caixa” in Plaça Diamant. The message reads “Mossos out!” For those unfamiliar, the Mossos d’Esquadra are the autonomous police force here in Catalonia, and the BRIMO, or Mobile Brigade are the riot force which has gained notoriety for several instances of heavy-handed brutality. the BRIMO are the images you see stenciled on the bank windows. The final panel is a message sprayed on the shutter which once had the fiery cat image featured here. The message simply reads, “We’ll be back”