Archive for police presence (Part 1)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 17, 2011 by cockroach1

controlled area for your use and enjoyment

Ever wondered what the bobby on the beat really thinks about his or her job, the 15M protest movement, immigration into Spain,  and the residents of Lavapies, to name a few controversial topics? Or thought how interesting it might be hear their side of the story? I have, and then I came across this, on a police forum called ‘’. This is the first part of a very long thread entitled:

‘Insults against the police in Lavapies’

about an incident earlier this Summer, in the middle of the 15M protest, when Lavapies residents ‘chased’ the police out of the neighbourhood and stopped them arresting an immigrant. If you want to see the full conversation (in Spanish, I’ll be posting it here in English), follow this link:

or Google: Lavapies. It’s interesting reading…..


I’m getting really pissed off with the media, twisting things, putting their own spin on stories, never mind the truth. Take the latest incident in Lavapies: when the police were in the middle of a raid on illegals, trying to arrest an immigrant, and locals chased them out.

What really happened: a black man tried to jump the metro entrance and some security guards grabbed him. They asked him for his ID so they could book him, but he refused. Then the security guards called the Police. When the officers arrived, they asked him again for his ID, he refused again, and this is when the police officers proceeded to escort him to the station to identify him.

At this point the residents of the neighbourhood started slagging off the police, insulting them, threatening them, pushing them etc. They called for back up, and within quarter of an hour the UIP had arrived, but the crowd had become very aggressive by this point, and the decision was taken to retreat in order to avoid a worse situation.

We have to put up with this kind of crap every day and nobody sticks up for us, not even our unions. This is what we get for doing our job.

There were no plans to arrest the immigrant, as the media is claiming, he was only going to be ID-ed. And anyway, this individual was here legally in Spain, and if he had been illegal, they wouldn’t even have arrested him, only started proceedings against him. And anyway, even if we had been there demanding ID, we’re just doing our jobs!

How about this – why don’t we all stop paying to use the metro, and while we’re at it let’s stop paying taxes as well. Let’s all take over abandoned buildings and exercise our right to squat, and how about we just let all the immigrants in the world in, tell you what, let’s just scrap all laws…



I couldn’t believe it either when I saw that on the telly.

One day…


And me, I really don’t know what’s going on


No way!! Like one of my colleagues said ‘we’re like medicine aren’t we, nobody wants us until they need us.’ Spain is different!’

Never surrender, never back down!!!!!

Have a look at this, this will give you an idea, here’s the video I saw on the news yesterday:


What’s that van at 3 mins 55?


I’d say it’s the  mounted police transport


WHAT A NIGHTMARE! What ignorant people, they can’t even work out what’s law and what’s repression. These dickheads had better not come down the station when they’ve need our help. These things really piss me off.


Yes, it’s the mounted police van, correct me if I’m wrong but I think they park up in the next parallel street.


You said it, mate, what ignorant twats. And the day they need us they’d be the first to dial 091. Ignorant, lying gits. Haven’t you seen in the last few seconds of the video, there’s a black man who says ‘they nabbed a Senegalese guy on the metro and they were mistreating him.’ Where did they get this gem? Have a look at ’20 mins’ today’s edition, there’s an interview with Ablaye Seck, the guy this is all about, who says, among other things, ‘the police treated me well’ and ‘it’s true they nicked me on the metro. That was my mistake. I didn’t have a ticket, I jumped the barrier and they got me.’ This person was treated impeccably throughout the entire proceedings and of course, never once stepping outside the parameters of the law.


What a nightmare, yeah, these people who hurl insults around and shout stuff like ‘murderer’, they’re just morons. It’s a shame the Government doesn’t release a statement sticking up for the police, guardia civil and the military, it’s a bloody shame, because we’re always made out to be the bad guys, and the rest of them are always in the right, because of course, they have more rights than the security forces, and it doesn’t look like changing any time soon.

But I do think the media has a lot to do with peoples’ impressions of the police and the guardia civil, I’d like to see some news about how the police risk their lives, not just pictures portraying us as the bad guys all the time.


 I had a similar experience a while ago, when a load of these ‘indignados’ came round near the barracks and were trying to gain entry so they could hang a banner saying you don’t need the army and that kind of stuff. They were insulting us as well, and the rest. At the end of the day these people are not ‘indignant’ they’re just morons if you ask me, the indignant ones are us police and security forces, every day.


 This country is full of dickheads, jumping on the bandwaggon and they don’t even know what they’re fighting for. If the same thing happened to a Spaniard and he has to go the station to be i.d’ed there’d be no problem.

All full of themselves, then they want police presence in the streets so they’re safe.

The same thing yesterday, this time Local Police Officers who were humiliated, (insulted, shoved, spat at…) while they were trying to detain a drug dealer with a warrant out for his arrest for dealing to minors. See the whole news story here: … es/policia


And while I’m at it, have a look at this article in ABC with an interview with the security guards from the metro who called the National Police, and who were very surprised and offended by the reaction of the local Lavapies residents, which made them give statements like ‘it looks like we can’t even do our jobs now, if it’s anything to do with Rubalcaba’s little friends, looks like we all have to go along with every demand of 15M now…’ … 71114.html

and it ‘aint going to change, because now they know we can’t touch them, and they’re taking the piss out of the police, we should come down on them like a ton of bricks next time, see if that stops them playing up

spot the difference - area controlled by CCTV cameras


Hey! I paid for that rucksack!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 27, 2011 by cockroach1

(Pope’s visit, Part Three)

The Church is organised crime

And in August it came to pass that an army of bright-eyed Catholic youths descended on the capital from all over the world, kitted out in Papal merchandise: caps and matching rucksacks. But the armies of ‘darkness’ were also there to meet them, marching on Sol from the opposite direction. The police had officially denied them full access to the plaza, so as not to clash with the ‘cristo-flautas’. But clash they did, in glorious, absurd Madrid style. As the Puerta del Sol filled with the Pope’s chanting fans, the protesters streamed in along one side, flanked by police, the idea being that they would shuffle past in a thin contained line, and then veer off up a side street, out of sight, out of mind. Only the first part of this plan was successful, the rest was chaos.

The protesters filed into Puerta del Sol chanting slogans like,

‘Tu papa es un nazi!’ (Your pope’s a nazi!), ‘La juventud del Papa, tambien se lo machaca!’ (On one thing you can bank, you christian kids all wank!), and ‘Os han engañado , la virgen ha follado!’ (What they told you was a trick! That Virgen’s had some dick!).  Then they kept coming, and coming, so many of them that they filled up the Plaza from the rear, breaking through police lines, and eventually mixing with the ‘cristo-flautas’ in a massive, sweaty, boisterous, angry soup, so that now the soldiers of God and the soldiers of darkness were all eye-balling each other, and shouting slogans back and forth at each other in a roiling, swaying, atheist/religious rugby scrum.

The Patriotic right-wing chanted,

‘Yo soy Español, Español, Español !’ (I am Spanish, Spanish, Spanish!)

to which the left-wing replied proudly,

‘Yo soy Pecador, Pecador, Pecador!’ (I am a Sinner, Sinner, Sinner!)

A wave of ‘Be-ne-dicto!’ from his supporters was echoed with the cry, ‘Pe-de-rasta!’ (Pea-do-phile!). Tiring a little of this inexplicable abuse, and not in possession of such a range of lyrical and satirical slogans, the cristo-flautas, as their opponents warmed to their theme, were subjected to cries of,

‘Menos crucifijio y mas trabajo fijo!’ (Less crucifixion, more stable work!),  ‘Menos religion, mas educacion!’ (Less religion, more education!) and ‘Tu mismo cristiano, que te paga el Vaticano!’ (Let the Vatican pay for all your Christian bollocks!)

Eventually there were so many soldiers in the ‘army of darkness’ or the Kale-Laico (see glossary) that they overwhelmed any attempts to contain them, and they took the square; the police had to strain in heaving lines around the metro exit, from which more bemused christians emerged, to shouts of,

‘A los leones, tirales a los leones, a los leoooooones…. ‘ (To the lions, throw them to the lions, to the liooooooooons…. to the tune of ‘Guantanamera’.) To add insult to injury, every time a passing priest had to pick his way gingerly through the rioutous masses, the anti-pope protesters recoiled in mock shock-horror and yelled, wide-eyed,

‘Cuidado con los niños , cuidado con los niños !’ (Careful! Keep an eye on the kids! Watch out for the kids!).

Not wanting to miss their moment, the lesbians in the crowd began chanting,

‘El Papa no nos deja comernos la almeja!’ (The Pope can take a hike- I’m a pussy-loving dyke! – literally ‘The Pope won’t let us eat each other’s clams!)

And somewhere near the Puerta del Sol, up a crammed side-street, on Calle Preciados, groups of  ‘Cumbayá’ from all nations of the world huddled together in their matching, state-sponsored merchandise, like EF foreign-language student groups, pointed at and mocked, with the accusation,

‘Esta mochila he pagado yo!’ (Hey! I paid for that rucksack!) Some ‘brave’ christians broke free to mingle voluntarily with the sinners, revelling in their own martyrdom, drowning in a sea of ‘punki-flautas’ and ‘perro-flautas’, alternative gay men, hippies, lesbians, teachers, socialists, students, and anarchists.

Years ago, in one of his bland, christian rock numbers, Cliff Richards remarked, quite accurately,  ‘Why does the Devil have all the good music?’ He might also like to ask himself why he also has all the good slogans.

Terminology/ glossary

Punki-flauta (‘punk-flute’ = crusty punk)

Perro-flauta (‘dog-flute- = crusty with a dog on a rope)

Cristo-flauta (‘Christ-flute’ = God squaddie)

Los Cumbayá  (the happy clappies)

Kale-Laico – comes from the politicised youth branch of ETA, Kale Borroka (luche callejera – Urban Fight), mobilised to cause street disturbances and commit acts of political violence. Term used by the religious majority/right wing to refer to left-wing anti-church protesters. Translation would be something like: Laic Street Fighters

PP = Police Presence?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 22, 2011 by cockroach1

no, not after a protest, this is the bank on the square, on a normal day

This evening the results of the local elections will be out, a vote that may have been affected by the ‘Spanish Spring’ or not. There was something moving about the protests in Sol, the pacific, ‘democratic’ atmosphere, the hand-written signs, the calm, quiet groups of policemen standing and watching. I walked past a man in his fifties there this afternoon, selling clothes pegs for the vote.

‘Why the clothes pegs?’ someone asked him.

‘For your nose,’ he informed him, ‘because they all stink the same.’

The truth is, we are all a little sick of politicians, wherever we’re from. For days now the city has been festooned with their insincere, smiling faces. Esperanza Aguirre’s enlarged, doll-skull feautures flashed past me on the metro several times one day last week as I travelled to classes, with every station her image changing – here, graffiti’ed into a vampire with dripping fangs, there, grinning with those thin lips and cleverly made-up eyes, and here, rather worryingly, with a red marker pen inking in a bullet hole to her forehead. Preppy Gallardon with his greying eyebrows assures us that he ‘likes Madrid and likes you’, and other lesser-known faces, staring off into the middle-distance, sport the usual tag-lines about ‘pueblo (people), gente comun (‘man/woman on the street) and ‘del barrio’ (of your neighbourhood). I have always been wary of anything that claims to be ‘of the people’ or ‘for the people’ because if you have to label it so insistently it normally means the opposite, like a heavy-handed Chinese Communist Party moniker.

You claim to be ‘of the people’? Well, how about you come down to our level, walk the streets, and talk to some of us? Which is exactly what the Partido Popular tried to do in Lavapies a few days ago  (Popular Party, again – do you really have to call yourselves popular? It smacks of Facebook desperation to me). A classic case of electioneering gone wrong. The Partido Popular is the equivalent of the Tories, if you like, while the PSOE or Socialist Party is more or less Labour. So, a brave or stupid move on their part to campaign in Lavapies Square, even though a student assures me they won Lavapies by a small majority last time. It reminded me of the somewhat inappropriate placement of an advertising hoarding on the side of the bus-stop in the Square I spotted a while ago, one of those louche offerings with a teenage pouty face beside a huge Prada or Gucci bag, I forget which. I mean… come on! What were you thinking? Isn’t that a little insulting? Who exactly do you think is going to buy a hideously expensive designer handbag in Lavapies? Or are you just rubbing our faces in it?

So, it might have been a brave or idiotic move to set up a PP stall on the Square, in front of the theatre, and directly underneath the pair of trainers slung over the telephone wires, with ‘Paz’ painted on one sole and ‘Peace’ on the other. I was walking to the Square with the Ponce and another friend of his, the Broken Fairy, to go to lunch on Calle Argumosa. As we approached we heard a terrible din.

‘Is that a San Isidro fiesta?’

‘I don’t think it’s a party, that sounds like a demo….’

And what a demo. A heart-warming example of Pure Lavapies Spirit. On the stage stood an individual with a microphone, trying fruitlessly to talk, while a small crowd, no more than 100 people, stood in front of him bashing frying pans and wooden spoons together, shouting and generally causing a fracas, and then flipping him the bird simultaneously in a mock fascist salute. As usual, around the periphery another crowd of onlookers and gawpers gathered. And around them looking nervous and frisky, a swarm of police. I counted at least four vans.

‘What the-? The PP are campaigning here? Are they crazy?’

‘Come on, let’s go and have a look.’

Within two or three minutes the disruption moved organically in the direction we were going – towards Argumosa, and we found ourselves in the middle of the mass of yelling, hyped-up protesters and bewildered residents. Apparently the trouble had kicked off when the PP had shown the gall to bring a ‘token immigrant’ on to the stage to talk.

‘Fascistas Fuera… De Lavapies!’ (Fascists Out… Of Lavapies!’) the protesters chanted in unison, pointing and gesturing, with every minute gaining momentum. Suddenly a line of twenty riot police blocked the street, glancing left and right, blocking the Banco Santander on the corner and shifting to guard the innocent beer-drinkers at the tree-lined terrazas a few feet further up the street.

‘Excuse me-‘ the Ponce took my work briefcase from my hand, and approached a man built like a tower block in a helmet, poker-faced, holding steady with his shield. I began to feel a little infatuated, intoxicated by the energy and butch hilarity. Spain is many things, but it’s hardly ever dull. Sometimes all pretence at femininity can take a hike. It’s time for the boys to play. Here we go.

‘I’m trying to get to work…. Could you let us pass?’

It was hardly a convincing impression of a young-buck executive, coming from a pierced midget with insomniac eyes, that Charles Manson stare, and the complexion of a teenage vampire. He stood, nose at belt level, while Goliath stared straight ahead, scanning the crowd.

The policeman shook his head almost imperceptibly, refusing to make eye contact.

‘Racists!’ screamed a black woman with a shopping trolley parked against the wall, loaded with her possessions. ‘The Mayor threw me out onto the streets, it’s his fault. Fascists! Racists!’ She looked desperate; she had a tooth missing at the front of her mouth.

‘Racists!’ She barked out the word, her eyes unfocused, her head turning on its sinewy neck like a wolf howling.

‘Fascistas Fuera….. de Lavapies!’

The riot police fidgeted and stood shoulder to shoulder in front of the bank. A wall of tight-trousered, soft-faced boys in blue. I suppose they had a point, despite their heavy-handed approach. When trouble kicks off, the cashpoints are the first to get torched, then public bins, and if it’s serious, maybe cars. If it’s really serious, police cars. But it wasn’t going to kick off today. The residents of Lavapies had had their say. Within a few minutes the rabble disbanded, and something like calm descended on the barrio. Behind the riot police a body lay slumped in the doorway of the bank. Someone, possibly a journalist, possibly an enthusiastic citizen, took a photo of the line of riot police and the body in the doorway of the bank just behind them. I imagine it was a good photo.

One of the policemen nudged the body with his polished boot, then walked away, commenting to a colleague,

‘Esta borracho.’ (He’s drunk). No shit, Sherlock. Behind us in the square, hands pulled the PP tent to the ground and began dismantling it, as if toppling the statue of a deposed tyrant. Just another afternoon in the barrio. Job done. Welcome to Lavapies, and now kindly piss off. The people of the barrio, the gente comun, have spoken. They like Lavapies, they like Madrid, but they’re not too keen on you.

Lavapies (4) Floor gymnastics with truncheon (or ‘I predict a riot’)

Posted in lavapies olympics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 24, 2009 by cockroach1

Last Summer there was an eye-catching piece of street graffiti that sprang up in the neighbourhood. A cleverly painted silhouette falling like an exact shadow from one of those iron bollards that line the main streets and can catch you unawares right in the groin if you’re not careful. The shadow was that of a policeman with a semi-erect truncheon. A discreet and amusing reminder of the presence that hovers over us daily.

Recently local government inaugurated a project to send mounted police to patrol Lavapies. During a vacuous news report on a local television station, where the female reporter dashed around under the horses and officer’s feet, mostly asking dumb questions about poo, elderly locals expressed approval at the scheme, the police stated that they could better observe the goings-on from up there, and drivers expressed irritation at being stuck behind the horses on narrow streets. The most enthusiastic seem to be the small children who play with their families in the playground in the plaza – several times I have seen a group of toddlers daring each other to approach the nonchalant horses in small groups, only to return to their mothers squealing with mock fear and delight when one of them shifts a foot or twitches a tail at them. These are not the only modes of transport for today’s copper on the beat, however. There are also police on motorbikes, who can be seen hanging around posing like extras from C.H.I.P.s, smoking fags and gossiping while adjusting their balls. Also there are many patrol cars sliding through the streets like silent sharks on the hunt for prey. Regularly they also pull up in batches of three or four cars, so all the officers can stop and have a chat. And police on foot. In fact, let’s face it, Lavapies is a veritable constables tea-party. What are they all doing here, then? Why so many of them? And what are their relations with my neighbours, the locals?

I, of course, have never had a brush with the Spanish police so have no opinion based on experience. I say ‘of course’ not because I am an upright and law-abiding citizen, but because my profile makes me appear to be one. I am a white, blond woman, and not a particularly young one. Therefore, according to airport security guards, police, doormen etc, I am no threat at all. So I am indifferent to their presence in my neighbourhood- they never ever bother me. On the other hand, if you are African, Arab, Indian, or in any way ‘foreign’ (especially ‘foreign’ and ‘dark’) you are likely to be stopped on sight and asked for your papers. There are many illegal immigrants here who barely leave the house for fear of being stopped and deported. African residents and street hawkers demonstrated twice recently against alleged racism and police raids; it subsequently emerged that police in the capital had been given weekly quotas for arresting illegal immigrants.

And there is a darker side to police relations with the locals, fuelled by mutual antipathy and antagonism. Sometime last year there was actually a full-scale riot just up the hill on the border of the neighbourhood, in Plaza Tirso de Molina. The origin of the riot was the choice of the plaza by a group of far right protesters who had organised a rally here. It was considered as provocation by their anti-fascist counter-parts, as it is the site of Nationalist raids on Republicans during the Civil War, so they retaliated by organising disturbances. The police responded in typical heavy-handed fashion, and chaos erupted. Garbage containers were overturned and burnt, cars smashed up, stones, bricks and other blunt objects thrown at police, who retaliated by firing rubber balls back and smoke canisters. On the retreat, rioters damaged urban furniture, shop-fronts, banks and cashpoints. I knew nothing of the riots until I tried to withdraw money the next day and walking from cashpoint to cashpoint, discovered all of them had smashed-in screens. When I was told about the rioting I thought it was a joke, but this was no joke. It was a real riot.

That explains why this sport is one of the entries for the Lavapies Olympics. I must confess I have never, ever seen police batter anyone with a truncheon in full daylight on the mean streets of Lavapies, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. If I wasn’t white and a blond female, with a passport, blue eyes and big knockers, (thus protecting me from racism of one sort, but exposing me to sexism of another sort) I might feel more intimidated. I am not afraid of the police, as I am sure most of my illegal neighbours are. A policeman is more likely to flirt with me than ask me for my papers. I am not a congenital cop-hater either. However, it would really, really amuse me if Banksy could come over here and paint this mural on one of our walls. Now that would get a reaction and amuse the locals no end.