A neighbourhood community centre in Barcelona was burnt down in the early hours of Thursday morning, and the attacker, it appears, also took the time to graffiti the walls of the building with Nazi and fascist symbols.
The Ateneu Popular de Sarrià, a self-managed youth and cultural centre, connected to left-wing political activism, had been operating since 2015 in a squatted building in the uptown Sarrià district. The Ateneu itself announced on Twitter that the attack had occurred, publishing several images to show what had happened. They state in their tweets that for months that they have been denouncing fascist attacks "and the danger that they imply". However, even though the evidence strongly points to an arson attack, firefighters did not immediately confirm this.
We rise you some images that have we have been able to take out. We have been denouncing fascist atacas, and the danger that they mean for months. The fascism advances if it|he is not fought against!! pic.twitter.com/hBnfSpFlis— You attend to Sarrià (@APSarria) 29 of March 2018
Not only did they find nazi and fascist graffiti, but also the sprayed slogan "Death to the CDRs". This refers to the Committees for Defence of the Republic, activist groups which mobilised to support the independence referendum and have been active in other pro-independence protests, including in the last few days, cutting highways to protest the detention of Carles Puigdemont and entry into prison of other Catalan leaders.
As the left wing Catalanist group Arran said, "The Ateneu is beyond recovery", mentioning the repeated attacks it has suffered in the last few months, but leaving clear that "we will never regress to their violence".
Després dels diversos atacs feixistes que ha patit l'@APSarria, aquesta matinada han tornat a entrar i han calat foc. L'Ateneu està irrecuperable.#OfeguemElFeixisme #AlertaUltra pic.twitter.com/9it6XKUBLw— Arran Sarrià #LaFoscor (@arran_sarria) 29 de març de 2018
The media of the regime?
The radical-left parliamentary party, the CUP, declared its solidarity with the Ateneu, while CUP Barcelona town councilor Eulàlia Reguant said she regretted "the fascism in the city that does not go away"..
Antifascism:all our solidarity with the Ateneu and we repeat: they shall not pass! - CUP
The fascism in the city that does not leave. All the support to l'@APSarria. It is necessary to continue constructing and working x to fight against the fascism. #AntifeixistesSempre https://t.co/2WwunMC4AG— Eulàlia Reguant Cura (@aramateix) 29 of March 2018
The fascism in the city that does not go away. All support to the Ateneu Popular de Sarrià. We have to keep constructing and working to combat fascism.
Meanwhile, Barcelona deputy mayor, Jaume Asens, told Catalonia Radio that he saw a "possible fascist attack" in the arson, recalling that this same centre had suffered ten attacks in just a few months. Furthermore he stressed that there are precedents for attacks with "an apparent fascist or extreme right content".
The rapper Pablo Hasel, recently sentenced to two years in prison for glorifying terrorism in his lyrics, was highly critical of the "media of the regime", saying that he was sure that they would not publish this information, but that if the building burned down had been the headquarters of the Citizens party instead of the Ateneu de Sarrià, "it would be lead story on the TV news".
Nazis queman un ateneo antifascista en Catalunya, no saldrá en los medios del régimen, pues son sus cachorros. Si lo quemado fuera una sede de C's en respuesta a su opresión, abriría telediarios.— Pablo Hasel (@PabloHasel) 29 of March 2018
No-one was physically injured in the blaze. But a building that "was not just a space", but rather "a collective project of the youth of the neighbourhood" has been lost.