Forum 'pirates' claim protest was peaceful
19 July 2004, BARCELONA – Hundreds of protestors who stormed the Forum 2004 festival armed with a pirate flag claimed Monday security guards had overreacted to the demonstration.
19 July 2004
BARCELONA – Hundreds of protestors who stormed the Forum 2004 festival armed with a pirate flag claimed Monday security guards had overreacted to the demonstration.
Albert Martínez, spokesman for the Assembly of Resistance to the Forum, said the clashes with security at the festival Sunday were "minor" and accused the media of "exaggerating" what happened.
A group of 300 protestors landed in boats inside the Forum site armed with a 'skull and cross bones' pirate flag to protest at the multi-million euro festival.
Forum 2004 is a controversial five-month festival which aims to mix discussions about Third World issues with a colourful artistic programme.
It has been heavily criticised as simply an excuse to provide work for developers and hoteliers not to focus on Third World problems.
Organisers had planned to attract 7.5 million people but visitor figures are well below target.
Critics claim the Forum 2004 lacks focus and is simply and expensive white elephant.
Martínez claimed the protest had been peaceful and the demonstrators had not intended to get inside the Forum site.
He said they had intended to land by boat at a small island near the Forum site, make their protest and leave.
But the demonstrators who arrived by boat could not return because of strong winds so they decided to go into the Forum port area.
Martinez said: "A security guard got nervous when he saw us cross the security line and he used his truncheon.
"If they had let us leave peacefully, nothing would have happened."
He said the protest was to draw attention to the real aims of the Forum which were to pay for urban development and property speculation.
Forum 2004 organisers have denied these claims.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news