“UCFR has been forced to transform the anti-racist demonstration on Saturday, 21 March into a series of virtual actions, via social networks. The demonstration we had scheduled in Passeig de Gràcia, the central avenue of Barcelona — which looked like it would be very big — has not been cancelled, but postponed, to a new date of international action, once the global health emergency situation has been overcome.
All the reasons we had for protesting against racism and the extreme right on March 21 are still valid. Today as yesterday, we must insist: “No to racism! Rights for everyone! ”
The situation with the coronavirus and the tragic loss of life it has caused should not make us forget that, due to EU migration policies, more than 30,000 people have died in the Mediterranean Sea, while seeking refuge. Within the Spanish State, institutional racism continues in a thousand different ways. Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, antiRoma racism… are a serious problem, as are sexism and LGTBI-phobia. The far-right — in the form of VOX and other “identitarian” groups — continues to promote hatred.
Now, with the coronavirus crisis, we have added problems.
While security measures have been declared in (some) European countries, many thousands of refugees remain locked up in overcrowded camps on the Greek islands, with no chance of protecting themselves. The other day in the Moria camp in Lesvos, where some 20,000 people are forced to lived, a fire killed a 5-year-old girl. All international and ethical laws must be respected once and for all, and refugees must be given the humanitarian welcome they deserve. The same welcome that we would like if we found ourselves having to flee from our homes.
Throughout the Spanish State, many people are locked in the migrant custody centres (CIEs). The State Campaign for Closing the CIEs has demanded the immediate closure of these centres and the release of the detained persons, in order to guarantee effective protection of their health against the virus. We support this demand.
In recent months, and alongside the electoral growth of the far-right VOX, we have seen a worrying increase in hate attacks on the street: now, with the excuse of the virus, more hate crimes are taking place against people who seem to be Chinese. The racism that already existed against this part of the population is becoming more visible; we must combat this hatred in a united way, like all kinds of racism.
And now urgent measures against the virus are becoming, in some cases, a new excuse for racist discrimination, as denounced by the new initiative “Emergencia contra el racismo”. We must be clear that there is no solution to the crisis if we don’t include everyone, and if we don’t take into account the specific situations of the various sectors of the population.
For all these reasons, and in view of the impossibility of holding the large planned demonstration, we have decided to maintain the fight against racism of 21M, but transforming it into a safe and acceptable format.
So this Saturday, March 21, we will carry out very diverse actions online, to combat the epidemic of racism and end the fascism virus…
UCFR is in contact with brother movements in other territories of the Spanish State and the rest of the world, and we will maintain our coordination with them, both on 21M itself and for the future.
Now, more than ever, solidarity must be promoted at all levels, from our neighbourhoods to the entire world. In the face of the coronavirus, in the face of climate chaos, in the face of the virus of racism … we are at stake.”
Unity against fascism and racism, Catalonia, 17 March 2020