occupied universitat de barcelona

Occupation of Barcelona University by Students protesting the Bologna Accords

On the 20th of November students demonstrated in protest of the Bologna Accords by occupying the University of Barcelona historic building La Central after marching through the city. Similar protests and occupations are occurring in universities in other parts of Spain, Italy and Greece.

In 1999 European Union education ministers signed the Bologna Declaration, which under the guise of standardizing and making more compatible and comparable the higher education systems of Europe, really paves the way towards their privatization. It will allow for education costs to increase so that only wealthy people will be able to afford education that will give access to higher paid jobs. The education system will be more connected to the market, allowing for corporations to influence what is taught and how. It is generally another move by capitalism towards corporate globalization.

The students wish to accomplish the following:
• To have a broad, public process about changes in the education system in Catalunya.
• To cancel the judiciary process against 31 students from another university fighting for the same cause.
• To hold a referendum in each catalan state university on the Bologna process.

In many ways, the occupation is a social experiment by young people in creating a functioning autonomous community. In the month that the university has been occupied the students have created a strong internal structure, revolving around daily open general meetings, a centralized shared kitchen, free and open out of timetable classes, self-organized skill sharing workshops and continue to encourage open communication and support with the teachers.

Open general meetings are held every night. Smaller group meetings for more specific topics are held 1 or 2 times a week by those involved. There is a good strong structure, such as the organization of a kitchen and food supply. The students have invited teachers to share their opinions They have organized free and open ‘out of timetable’ classes. There are also self-organized skill sharing workshops.

Protest actions taken include a spontaneous game of street football played by around 100 students in the city centre, which blocked traffic and confused police with an unplanned route, and a street performance of students dressed as beggars asking for education.

On 18th December students from the occupied faculties blockaded some of the major streets of the city, including 600 people stopping the traffic on the biggest highway. One of the groups marched through central Barcelona and continued to occupy the office of the politicians responsible for the universities, and expressed their opinions to them.

On 20th December there was several different demonstrations throughout the city in solidarity with the current movement in Greece. The police answered with heavy repression. The whole day alternative looking people were searched and asked for identification without any apparent reason. Many people were detained at random. At one small demonstration the police formed a circle around peaceful demonstrators and held them there for more than one hour, checking the documents of everyone. The biggest demonstration gathered around 200 people walking from the university towards the city centre. At Pl. de Gracia, police also circled this demonstration. Tension started growing, and when the police refused to let an injured protester, who was bleeding from the face after being beaten, receive aid, the protesters got more and more agitated. The police answered with beating people who were nearby and scattering the people in all directions. After this the police kept driving around, stopping to beat up alternative looking people or pulling people into their vans to ask for their documents. In the end many demonstrators were injured, three persons were taken into custody, one of whom is still not released. Several persons were accused of ‘public disorder’.

There has been resistance to the Bologna Accords throughout Europe, varying from discussions and minor demonstrations in north-west Europe, to similar actions as in Barcelona in other parts of Spain, Italy & Greece. The implementation of the Bologna accords in Greece is one of the underlying reasons for the current unrest in the country.

“La Central is calling out for the solidarity and support from all social movements, collectives, associations, neighborhoods, asking you to actively take part on alternative university activities.
We are sure that our fight is your fight!”

For more info:

The Occupied University’s Blog


Petition To Support The Manifesto

Wikipedia – general info on the Bologna process, it’s implementation in different countries, criticism etc.

Universitat de Barcelona 22/12 2008

Henrik and Paz, Skill Surfers


Mirto's picture


I went to Universitat Autonoma about a week befor skillsurfers got there. While I was contemplating the map of occupied areas, hanging at the entrance, I had a chance to obseve two Very Important Persons of the Uni (no clue who was it exactely) during their conversation. They talked with highest pride about the occupation "Oh, look, our students are organsing their-selves! Look, they protest against Bologna".
Probably the same Persons take decision to repaint all slogans and rebelous grafitties at the Uni area.