The demonstrations called to protest the imprisonment of rapper Pablo Hasél differ from the protests that have taken place in recent years in Catalonia, among other things, because there are not many pro-independence proclamations, nor visible leaders, nor too many flags.
Last Sunday, which was the sixth night of altercations after the rapper’s imprisonment, the protest was highlighted by the presence of a banner written in Spanish – something very unusual in Catalonia in this type of mobilization, where Catalan is preferred – and in which it could be read: “You have taught us that being peaceful is useless.”
The banner became the head of the mobilization of the thousand people who demonstrated from the Sants station to Via Laietana, where the Higher Headquarters of the National Police is located.
The owner of the banner, the filmmaker Félix Comer, became the involuntary leader to continue in the march in protests that do not understand organizations, platforms or visible leaders beyond the jailed rapper. Colomer and his banner led the crowd to the headquarters.
There, the Mossos fired the protesters, after the agents were victims of a rain of stones, bottles, containers and even a traffic sign. Colomer and another young man who were carrying the banner barred the Mossos’ path with the canvas and the agents ended up destroying the sheet.
EL PAÍS has contacted the filmmaker. This is the story of a canvas that was commissioned after the sentence by the imprisoned independence leaders, was expelled from a demonstration by the ANC and Omnium and ended up in pieces in Vía Laietana on the sixth day of protests over the imprisonment of a Lleida rapper.
“In the end there are no protesters, there are criminals”. Launches against the police on the sixth night of protests by Pablo Hasél.
Félix Colomer is a 27-year-old young documentary maker and filmmaker from Sabadell who sings trap and who in recent weeks has often appeared in the media after premiering the series Vitals for the series and cinema platform HBO, where he documents his experiences in an ICU during the pandemic.
“In the protests that took place before the judgment of the procés in Hong Kong there were messages similar to the one on my banner. I liked the idea of launching this slogan in Spanish so that it could be understood outside of Catalonia.
I ordered the banner to be able to take it out at the Urquinaona protests in October 2019 -after the judgment of the procés- but they finished before I had the fabric made, ”Colomer confesses. Days later, on October 26, 2019, the ANC and Omnium made a call to try to show unity within the independence forces.
It was a peaceful and massive gathering that Colomer arrived with several friends and displayed the banner: “You have taught us that being peaceful is useless.” The message did not go unnoticed.
“It seems to me a great message that talks about, in my opinion, when police violence is disproportionate and legitimizes other types of violence. But the banner did not like some independence politicians such as Joan Josep Nuet, Anna Tarrés or Ernest Benach who were there.
They called the ANC volunteers and kicked us out saying that our message scared the older people there. It felt terrible. I am a member of both entities and they threw me out, they did not let me demonstrate at a rally in the public thoroughfare ”, denounces Colomer.
The filmmaker put the banner in a drawer. He has been a father for three months and last Tuesday he went to the first demonstration called after Hasél’s imprisonment. “I was carrying the baby in my arms and when I saw that it got complicated we had to leave,” he laments.
It was then that he remembered that he kept the banner and on Sunday he equipped himself with two broomsticks, took the canvas and went to the Sants Station demonstration. “The message is clear. So far we are peaceful and what have we gained. We have political leaders in prison, also a rapper, there is a gag law… ”, denounces the filmmaker.
“When I got to Sants, I had to find someone to hold the other broomstick. I am very shy. I met an 18 year old boy who was alone. I started talking to him and he told me that he was Palestinian and had been in Barcelona for six years.
I asked him to hold the banner that he wanted to do something like an experiment and see how the police acted. He told me no problem ”, he recalls. Colomer and his new friend held out the banner. The media began filming and photographing her.
“Then an individual approached us and told us that he was from the Mossos d’Esquadra mediation unit and asked us where the demonstration was going to go. I told them that we did not know anything because we are not from the organization ”, he warns. All the protesters began to follow them.
When arriving in front of the Headquarters of the National Police the rain of objects began against the barrier of the Mossos. From the vans of the autonomous police a message began to be launched that most of the concentrates know: “Attention, attention. This is the police. Stop throwing objects. Imminent police intervention ”.
“At that moment I told my partner that we would stretch the banner barring the trucks and we would not move. Peacefully, ”he recalls. The vans accelerated and stopped inches from the banner. It was then that several mossos came down and pushed Colomer and his friend aside and threw the banner to continue towards the protesters who continued with the launches.
“I was able to pick it up from the ground and we put it back in front of the Mossos. Then they broke it. They ran over and tore up a banner that reads: ‘You have taught us that being peaceful is useless.’ So the intervention of the Mossos closes the circle and agrees with the message they tried to destroy ”, argues the filmmaker.