Twelve animal rights and environmental activists have been arrested in Spain and are being labeled “eco-terrorists.” Little information is available about this developing story right now, but some of the activists have worked with Igualdad Animal on open rescues, walking into factory farms where animals were being abused, documenting the animal welfare violations, and then rescuing some of the animals.
Some news outlets are reporting that the activists are alleged to have ties to the Animal Liberation Front. However, Javier Moreno, a spokesperson for the above-ground group Igualdad Animal (and one of those arrested), says his group has been targeted because the government hasn’t been able to actually catch the people committing ALF crimes. He called the attack on Igualdad Animal and Equanimal open-rescue activists “an attempt to criminalize animal rights movement” and said the eco-terrorism rhetoric is part of a continued campaign against all aspects of the animal rights movement.
“As they have no one to charge for the release of Minks, they have arrested several members Equanimal and Animal Equality in an attempt to criminalize the animal rights movement, as happens in other European countries,” he said. “The lobbies of animal exploitation and the powerful multinationals want to stop the animal movement and the repression is now coming to Spain.”
The sweeping arrests, accusing people of both above-ground and underground tactics, seem quite similar to the recent attacks on Austrian animal rights activists as “terrorists.” However, it is far too early to know.
Here is a video documenting an example of the tactic that is being called “eco-terrorism” by industry groups, both in the United States and internationally.
UPDATE: No prisoner support page yet, but you can donate to their legal support here (in English)
UPDATE 2: Official statement from Animal Equality. The Spanish government is saying the arrests are related to the recent release of mink from fur farms. Above-ground activists respond:
These two organisations, which define their activism as being non-violent, dedicate their efforts to raising public awareness of animal rights, by informing society of the consequences of the consumption of animal products and the promotion of alternatives. On the other hand, even though the organisations were not involved in the mink liberations, neither condemns these types of actions, to the extent that they defend the interests of all animals regardless of species, as none of the minks exploited by the fur industry deserves to live and die on a Spanish fur farm….
The animal exploitation lobbies and powerful multinationals wish to put the brakes on the animal rights movement in Spain, and now we are seeing the arrival of repression.
UPDATE 3: International day of protest and solidarity called for FRIDAY, JUNE 24th, 2011. Here’s a list of Spanish embassies.
Update 4: Protests planned for San Francisco, Toronto, New York City, Washington DC and more. Post a link in the comments and I’ll add them. Also, a quick thing you can do is update your social media profile photos with the banner above.
UPDATE 5: Protest in Munich, Germany, Friday 6/24 from 9 am – 1 pm in front of the Spanish embassy (Oberföhriger Str. 45).
UPDATE 6: Protest in Brussels, Belgium, Friday, 6/24 at 2 pm in front of the Spanish embassy (Wetenschapsstraat 19).
UPDATE 7: Animal Equality lawyers report:
“…the treatment of those detained is currently adequate, although they are not being given a vegan diet. Some of the activists have declared themselves on hunger strike until they receive vegan food…They are calm, but strong and determined, and many people are currently working on this situation. Many thanks for all the support that has been received so far.
“You can make your support for the detained activists reach further by calling the police stations in Santiago de Compostela and A Coruña where they are currently being held and inquiring about the health of the activists..
The following is a suggested text to read:
“Hello. I am calling because I am concerned about the health of the activists who were arrested yesterday and who are currently being held in the police station. I would like to request that they be given a vegan diet.. I wish to express my concern for the health of those detained, and in particular, Sharon Nunez Gough, who has certain health problems.”
– Comandancia de la Guardia Civil A Coruña, 0034 981 16 78 00, where the following activists are being held:
Sara, Olaia, Eneko, José Ramon, Eladio, Rafael, Jennifer y Borja
– Comandancia de la Guardia Civil Santiago de Compostela, 0034 981 581 611, where the following activists are being held:
Jose, Sharon y David.
UPDATE 9: Protest in Vienna, Austria, Friday, 6/24 at 11 am in front of the Spanish embassy (Argentinierstraße 34, A-1040 Wien)
Protest in Berlin, Germany, Friday, 6/24, at noon in front of the Spanish embassy (Lichtensteinallee 1)
UPDATE 10: Protest in Zagreb, Croatia