Police repression of a queer party


5th May 2023

Communique of La Gata Insubmisa (Tarragona): Police repression of a Queer Party

La Gata Insubmisa is an intersectional transfeminist and anti-speciesist social centre, which has been open in Tarragona for more than three months (since 21 January 2023).

It is a self-managed space with a vegan cafeteria and library, cat cafe and hall for assemblies, workshops and talks... The people that manage La Gata are all volunteers and activists.

On Friday 28 April 2023, we organised our first Queer Night. It was the first time that we planned to close after 21:00 (the bar license, with which we have authorisation to open until 03:00, is being processed).

That the first party that La Gata hosted is a queer party is not a coincidence. In Tarragona, the members of our collective do not have safe spaces in which we can party. That night was organised by bisexuals and lesbians, exclusively for queer people.

Around 03:00 a patrol car of the Guardia Urbana (city police) passed by, but they did not get out or tell us anything. We closed ourselves inside by bringing down the shutters (without locking it with a key, so people could leave if they wanted).

Around 03:30 two aggressive cis-looking men appeared at the door and tried to force open the shutters. The people inside La Gata ran back to the door in order to stop them from entering. One of them managed to put his foot in so we couldn't close it completely and there was a moment of struggle. They then took out badges that said they were police, but we didn't know if this was true.

Due to increasing hate crimes against the collective, related with the rise of the far-right, it was totally plausible to think that they came intending to attack us. We consider our response, in attempting to close the door, to have been an act of legitimate self-defense.

Moments later more police of the Guardia Urbana and the Mossos d'Esquadra (Catalan regional police) appeared, this time in uniform. The deployment was completely disproportionate: 15-20 came in a riot van and forcefully entered the building, batons in hand, threatening us and throwing two of our friends to the ground.

There were 12 women and non-binary people inside. They identified all of us and took down some of our details. They threatened us, yelling "if you had been drunken men, we would have battered you." Another demonstration that machismo and police abuse have been totally normalised.

We note that they never gave us prior warning, that their two plain clothes officers didn't identify themselves until the situation had already violently escalated, that their approach was not at all to be conciliatory, but on the contrary, was intended to provoke a conflict with screams and violence.

This makes us think that there was a desire to extort money from us through fines and even that La Gata, as a politicised space, may be in the cross-hairs of repression (they knew that it is self-managed space with few resources and that fines could shutter the project). They registered the space, they provoked damages (by forcing open the entry way), and the following morning, the Guardia Urbana served us with three fines:

*1010€ (606€ if we pay within 20 days) for breaching closing time (because we stayed open a little after 03:00)
*1010€ (606€ if we pay within 20 days) for unauthorised activity (because we were dancing and it is not a music club)
*500€ (250€ if we pay within 20 days) for preventing their undercover agents from entering.

We have held an urgent assembly to decide how to respond to the situation and agreed:
- to pay the fines because we are conscious that inside their legal systems we are bound to lose (we are feeling totally helpless and impotent before the legal route)
- to put out a communique and to politicise the events because the attitude of the police has been, once again, clearly repressive (they were not willing to resolve the situation nor did they nor did they let us know that we had to end the party)
- To contact the neighbourhood and apologise for possible annoyance caused and to invite them to talk with us about whatever they want or not (We take care of ourselves with our neighbours, who the repressive bodies also repress)
- To be more responsible next time, in order not to annoy our neighbours and not to fall into police provocations that could put the project in jeopardy.
- To contact friendly collectives and spaces for discussion and collaboration, and to build a network.

If you can contribute and want to do something to help us pay the fines, here's the details for our bank account:
Caixa d'Enginyers ES40 3025 0023 3214 0005 7383
And for Bizum: 698371459

We believe in mutual aid and solidarity in the face of different forms of repression. If you can't contribute economically, help us spread the word, which is just as if not more necessary.■

Translated by Organise
This is Translated from the origianl statement and request which you can find here.

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