Hundreds of far-right Spaniards gathered this morning outside the pavilion in Zaragoza where Podemos had organised an event in favour of a referendum under terms negotiated with Madrid. Several attendees, like Xavier Domènech (president of Catalunya in Comú, "Catalonia in Common") and Carles Campuzano, said that they were prevented from leaving. Some of those present, like Domènech, indicated that the Spanish National Police had told them they couldn't do anything more because they had so many resources in Catalonia (Zaragoza is in the centre of Aragon, a neighbouring autonomous community). The barricading lasted for several hours, until, at around 3pm, the attendees were evacuated through a side door.
The far-right protesters also shook and chased the taxi carrying Podemos deputy Àngels Martínez and destroyed a car belonging to Catalan public channel TV3.
Podemos' event in Zaragoza in favour of the right to decide, took place within the framework of the state assembly of parliamentarians and mayors for freedom of expression, brotherhood and dialogue. Politicians of different parties, including PDeCAT (Catalan European Democratic Party), ERC (Catalan Republic Left), PNV (Basque Nationalist Party), Més (More) and Compromís (Commitment) took part.
Ultras concentrats on se celebra l'assemblea de càrrecs electes de Podem, escridassen, insulten i amenacen els periodistes. pic.twitter.com/pFPOP4crOW— Laia Vicens (@laiavicens) 24 of September 2017
Half a thousand demonstrators from far-right groups gathered outside the 21st century pavilion in Zaragoza. Some carried Franco regime flags and appeared very aggressive.
Jose A. Rodríguez (@joosearodriguez) 24 of September 2017
The demonstrators rebuked the event's participants as they entered with shouts like: "Catalonia is robbing us" and "Long Live Spain". They also shouted fascist slogans and chants against the 1st October referendum.
The speaker of the Aragon Parliament, Violeta Barba, was the victim of an assault by one of the far-right protesters, who threw a bottle of water at her, with no serious consequences. Later, Barba herself calmed those worried for her health, saying that she was fine.
Gracias por el cariño, estoy bien. Seguiré defendiendo la democracia y la libertad con una sonrisa.— Violet Beard (@violetbarba) 24 of September 2017
Translation: Thank you for your care, I'm fine. I will continue defending democracy and freedom with a smile.
Controversy with the police
Domènech said that the organisers requested the National Police to take action to guarantee the event's security, but that the response was that "their resources are in Catalonia chasing ballot boxes".
The Police closed various doors to the pavilion to avoid greater problems.
Un grup de feixistes impedeixen que sortim de l'#Asamblea24S. La Policia diu que tots els seus efectius estan a Catalunya perseguint urnes.— Xavier Domènech (@XavierDomenechs) 24 of September 2017
A group of fascists are preventing us leaving the assembly. The [National] Police say that all their units are in Catalonia chasing ballot boxes.
De momento no podemos salir porque no hay efectivos suficientes de la policía nacional. Están todos buscando urnas y papeletas en Catalunya.— Alberto Garzón (@agarzon) 24 of September 2017
(First) Some 300 Nazis are howling at the doors of the assembly. They don't tolerate democracy. Between them all they don't even have one useful neuron. (Second) For the moment we can't leave because there aren't sufficient National Police forces. They're all looking for ballot boxes and voting slips in Catalonia.
Like Domènech, the leader of Izquierda Unida (United Left), Alberto Garzón, denounced the lack of police units in the presence of those he labelled "nazies". The spokesperson for Podemos in the Spanish Congress, Irene Montero, said: "Let's see if you realise that we're not scared. We want democracy".