There have been many rallies and demonstrations in Spain, such as those that took place on Sunday 7 June, organised by the newly formed Black, African, and Afro-descendant Community in Spain (CNAAE). In Madrid, over 3,000 people gathered at the US embassy.
As well as denouncing the murder of George Floyd, they also condemned the racism experienced by black people and others in Spain. There were similar protests in Barcelona, Bilbao, Zaragoza, Valencia, Murcia, Palma de Mallorca and Las Palmas in the Canaries, among others. An important factor in these actions was the strong presence of young black people, born or raised in Spain as the sons and daughters of migrants. Many of these young people had not previously joined demonstrations or political movements.
With the protests they have been able to share their experiences of social and institutional racism they face every day. These demonstrations have been an historic step forward for the anti-racist movement. The challenge now is to transform the energy, the capacity for mobilisation and the discontent into real and effective movement for social change. Demonstrations have continued, such as those marking World Refugee Day over the weekend of 20-21 June.
The Regularisation Now campaign held actions in many different cities, bringing together more than 1,500 organisations. The movement demands the government grants permanent legal status to remain to all those people currently unrecognised. It also denounces violations of the rights of migrants and refugees.
During the pandemic, we have seen an increase in cases of police brutality and in racist attacks against people of Chinese or Asian origin. In early June there were numerous incidents of institutional racism and police violence. National news braodcast a recording made by a young black man of six policemen physically and racially assaulting him. Meanwhile the coalition government of the Socialist Party and Podemos has reopened the Foreigners’ Internment Centres — in effect, prisons for undocumented migrants. The creation of the CNAAE is a step forward in promoting the demands and the fight for the rights of black, African and Afro-descendant people.
We now need to build alliances with other anti-racist movements and other social struggles.
(Kadijatu Dem Njie is an activist in CNAAE and Unitat Contra el Feixisme i el Racisme (Catalunya), and a member of Marx21.net.)