Catalonia: Activists demand military-free educational events

On 29th November, the campaign Demilitarise Education from Catalonia organised an action in front of the Consortium of Education of Barcelona, calling on the officials to ensure that military will not take place in any future educational events in Catalonia. As part of the action, activists handed in letters addressing the official bodies responsible for avoiding the military participation in educational events, and organised a press conference.

Previously in November, the organisation committee of the Festival of  Childhood in Barcelona, which is one of the educational events the armed forces joined previously, made a statement announcing that the military or any police bodies will not be taking part in the festival this year, which will take place between 27th December and 4th January.

Appreciating this positive outcome, activists from the campaign Demilitarise Education underlined the importance of continuing social pressure by various groups and organisations, as well as teachers and parents of students, in achieving a culture of peace in Catalonia.

Jordi Muñoz, member of the campaign said, despite this positive outcome in the case of the Festival of Childhood, “the Fair of Barcelona has ensured army's presence at the Chamber of the Education of Barcelona, which will take place between the 22nd and 26th next March. What will happen next, then? Will the military take part in the next Space of the Student event in Valls, the ExpoJove in Girona, the Chamber of Sport and Tourism of Mountain or the Fair of Formation and Work in Lleida?”

In July this year, the Parliament of Catalonia approved a resolution on the demilitarisation of Catalonia (Resolution 55/XI). The fifth section of the Resolution urges the Government to avoid the presence of the military in any educational centers and spaces, including the Venue of the Education, the Venue of the Infancy in Barcelona; the Venue of Sport and Tourism of Mountain or the Fair of Professional Formation in Lleida; the ExpoJove in Girona; or the Space of the Student in Valls.

By their action on 29th November, Demilitarise Education activists announced a new campaign of sending letters addressing people in institutions, organisations and public bodies –in national and local area– who have responsibility in the organisation of these events, urging them to comply with the Resolution 55/XI on the Demilitarization of Catalonia.

As part of this campaign, they have sent letters to many officials, including Meritxell Ruiz, minister of Education; Dolors Pond, minister of Work, Social Affairs and Families; Jordi Baiget, minister of Company and Knowledge; Raül Romeva and Rueda, minister of External Affairs, Institutional Relations and Transparency; Ada Colau, mayor of Barcelona; Àngel Blond, mayor of Lleida; Albert Batet, mayor of Valleys; Josep Lluís Bonet, president of Fair of Barcelona; Constantí Serrallonga; general director of Fair of Barcelona; Roser Soley, director of the Chamber of the Education; Oriol Oró, general director of Fair of Lleida; Xavier Sala, president of the Institute of Vallencs Studies; Marta Vilalta, general director of Youth; Cesc Poch, general director of the Catalan Agency of the Youth; M. Mercè Yoke, general secretary of the Intercollegiate Council of Catalonia.

As well as the Demilitarise Education activists, the action was also supported by the members of faculty USTEC, CGT (General federation of Work), student body SEPC (Students' union of the Catalan Countries), peace organisations Centre Delàs, Edualter, FundiPau and antimilitarist platforms of Valls, Tarragona and Lleida. Also the deputy Gabriela Saws (CUP-CC) and the deputy Ferran Civit (Together for the Sinus) have been present in the press conference.

The campaign Demilitarise Education was formed by several entities linked to the promotion of peace and education in Catalonia after the first Social Forum of Catalonia in 2008. The aim of the campaign is to prevent the presence of the military, and the representations of any militaristic values, in the educational spaces. Since its formation, the campaign has been active in reporting the military presence in educational spaces to the Chamber of the Education, and in organising public actions demanding the government ensuring educational spaces and events are free of military presence and participation.

Source and Photo: Desmilitaritzem l'Educació

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