GIRONA vs MAT (Very high voltage line): CREATIVE RESISTANCE

15M Barcelona Internacional

MAT

A very high voltage line is to be set up across the Girona territory (MAT line). The State is expropiating vast amounts of land in order to construct power towers. Many people are against this project, as some of these lines cross and split farms and agricultural lands and it would have a great environmental impact on forests and other natural reserves.
Several groups of people from different towns around the line project are organising the resistance in different ways:

  • Direct action: Trying to prevent the beginning of the works in places where the towers have to be built. Demonstrations and marches all around the area are taking place. Also, country houses around the line have been occupied to facilitate the resistance.
  • Legal action: Right now there is a litigation at the Superior Court of Justice in Spain against the decision which declares the MAT is a public interest issue, the project being assigned to the company Red Eléctrica. If they manage to change this public interest status, expropriations will have to stop.
  • Citizens’ enquiry which asks the population if they agree with the construction of MAT. It ended on January 26th, and voting was possible online. The results will soon be released, but a large opposition to the MAT project is expected.

On January 8th, the day that the works for tower 66 had to start, Can Planelles -a house located less than 50 m from the tower- was surrounded by the police to prevent the inhabitants from going into the fields trying to stop the works. But something unexpected happened: An activist, who had been sleeping for a few days in a caravan beside the place where a tower had to be placed, constructed a tunnel from the caravan to his car, which was buried 3 m below floor level where works were supposed to start (see sketch ). He crawled into the car and chained his arm to a concrete tube. It took nearly the whole day for the firemen to get him out, preventing the works from beginning. Many people gathered around the place to give support and to stop the machinery which was trying to work even though it was dangerous for the buried activist. News spread on the social networks and people all over Spain where following the process and cheering for this activist. Police got involved and several activists were injured.

4 days later, more than 700 hundred attended a march aginst the MAT , which started in Santa Coloma de Farners and led to a natural area affected by the plan which includes a castle and an old church. Meanwhile, there was still police presence in Can Planelles to protect the works on tower number 66.

Police pressed charges against activists, and two people have been arrested recently for the tower 66 action. Some of the detainees refused to make any statement to the police. Support is showed in concentrations and demonstrations, no longer being considered a local struggle yet the struggle continues.

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