Charities in Barcelona are fined for handing out food to those less fortunate during Spain’s Coronavirus lockdown
THE Anti-Racist Care Network, which cares for 150 people without resources during the pandemic, denounces the sanctions against three of its volunteers when they were distributing to families in Barcelona, despite having authorisation. However, the town hall assures that it is an “error” and that it will not process complaints as long as they can justify their presence on the street, although the network is suspicious after the last complaint.
Since the State of Alarm was decreed, several groups in Barcelona linked to the anti-racist movement and in support of migrants have begun to work so that the most vulnerable do not remain in the lurch.
A month of restrictions on freedom of movement has confirmed his theses. “We started by helping 30 people, in the closest environment. But we now have around 150 and we cannot accept more because we do not have the capacity,” Lina Vanesa López, member of the Sabor Pacífico association and volunteer of the Care Network, assures the public.
Among the people who require the support of the network are, people who are not being cared for by any institution. Many who are also caring for children. Among them, there are around 50 homes where people cannot go outside because they do not have documentation and risk being arrested.
However, despite their work and having different certificates to carry it out, three of their volunteers have been denounced by the Barcelona Urban Guard while carrying out daily deliveries.
The first two were imposed on March 31 by two volunteers in the Gràcia neighbourhood. “Three vans stopped us, asked us for the documentation and explained what we were doing. We had the van loaded with food bags and the Generalitat’s self-responsible certificate of movement, ” says Jonis, one of the accused.
But the officers did not consider the fine enough, they forced them to return home and notified them of the violation of article 36.6 of the Citizen Security Law, due to disobedience or resistance to authority, which includes fines of between €601 and €30,000. “In addition to the scare, eight families ran out of food that day. I think it is unfair,” says Jonis.
Both the network and the town hall ensure that the distributions were continued thanks to a certificate issued by SOS Racisme Catalunya. “We thought everything was correct, but a few days ago, another colleague was also stopped and denounced,” says López.
“If we cannot make deliveries, many foods are spoiled and many families are left with nothing because they only have this,” says the volunteer, who points out that this type of police decision “scares volunteers” at times when they are more necessary than never.