Coal mines ignite in Asturias (with updates)

Coal mines ignite in Asturias (with updates)

Coal miners in the historically militant Asturias region of Spain have been fighting a bitter struggle for survival. Please see the comments below for frequent updates.

Around 8,000 miners have been involved in ongoing strikes and militant protests after the government announced cuts to subsidies for the region's coal mines.

There are around 40 mines in the country, mainly in the north, where they offer vital jobs in an increasingly depressed economy. The end of the subsidy will effectively mean the end of those jobs, as Spanish coal prices will increase beyond those of imported alternatives. The strikers view winning the strike as essential to their livelihoods. It is increasingly becoming a set-piece battle as the government deepens its austerity program.

Consequently, they have utilised various forms of direct action to maximise the impact of the strike.

During the week, miners set up 16 roadblocks, severely affecting traffic in the region. One burning tire block caused a five-mile jam for over two hours. They also blocked access to the main port of Gijon, closed access to a major road tunnel after "persons unknown" sabotaged the CCTV, and protested outside a major power station. Attempts to break the roadblocks to transport people and goods in and out of the mines led to running battles with police. The strikers used rocks, concrete blocks, and home-made rocket launchers.

On Friday miners blocked several roads and two railway lines. A mineshaft is occupied, and strikers have camped out in the main square of the regional capital, Oviedo.

Posted By

Django
Jun 10 2012 09:20

Share


  • The strikers view winning the strike as essential to their livelihoods. It is increasingly becoming a set-piece battle as the government deepens its austerity program.

Attached files

Comments

Steven.
Jun 10 2012 11:03

Hey, thanks for posting this, this story has been a big omission from our news section!

Just to clarify, what you mean by "set piece confrontation"? Do you mean a ritual dead-end? Because to me this doesn't seem like business as usual. I mean militant struggles like this do happen every now and again, likely Puerto Real shipyard strike, but they are the exception rather than the rule.

Anyway, there have been some amazing photographs from this strike. We should really compile them into a gallery:

Django
Jun 10 2012 11:25

No, it's as in set-piece battle: the stakes are massively high, with large scale mobilisations on both sides.

Steven.
Jun 10 2012 17:47

Thanks for the clarification.

Amazing photographs here: http://periodismohumano.com/economia/la-batalla-del-pozo-santiago.html

fingers malone
Jun 10 2012 19:39

edit: Jesus, can't do this photo business.

Fixed. You have to right click the photo and choose 'Copy Image URL' - juan conatz

fingers malone
Jun 10 2012 22:49

Given up trying to put up photos.

There is going to be a general strike in the comarcas mineras which are Asturias, Castilla Leon and Aragon on June the 18th.

fingers malone
Jun 10 2012 23:36

Thanks Juan

fingers malone
Jun 11 2012 00:24

Entdinglichung
Jun 11 2012 08:10

the strike was called by UGT and CCOO, which are the main unions in the coal mines in the Spanish State

fingers malone
Jun 11 2012 17:43

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=zuZ_jwmccCM

Please, someone tell me how you put videos in?

fingers malone
Jun 11 2012 18:11

Interesting that there's a lot of banners saying "we're not 15-M, we're miners". Not sure if it's because they feel 15-M is a bit middle class or they are saying "don't fuck with us, we are not a pushover". Maybe a bit of both.

fingers malone
Jun 11 2012 18:11

fingers malone
Jun 11 2012 18:22

edit: actually this might be from the general strike or something, it came up on a google image search for mineros asturianos en huelga though

no1
Jun 11 2012 18:39
fingers malone wrote:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=zuZ_jwmccCM

Please, someone tell me how you put videos in?

(hit 'quote' to see the code)

Joseph Kay
Jun 11 2012 19:07
fingers malone wrote:
Interesting that there's a lot of banners saying "we're not 15-M, we're miners". Not sure if it's because they feel 15-M is a bit middle class or they are saying "don't fuck with us, we are not a pushover". Maybe a bit of both.

I saw a cartoon on Facebook with the police charging forwards towards '15-M/indignados' saying '¡vamos!' and the same police in full retreat saying '¡no vamos!' from 'mineros asturianos', so I guess the latter?

fingers malone
Jun 11 2012 19:17

fingers malone
Jun 11 2012 19:29

Trans: THIS is the red, and these are our olympic rings
[Spanish football team is called the red]

Spanish facebook is full of either photos of miners burning things, or furious comments about the bailout. There's some 'sack half the politicians in Spain' thing going round that is really popular.

fingers malone
Jun 11 2012 19:35
Joseph Kay wrote:
fingers malone wrote:
Interesting that there's a lot of banners saying "we're not 15-M, we're miners". Not sure if it's because they feel 15-M is a bit middle class or they are saying "don't fuck with us, we are not a pushover". Maybe a bit of both.

I saw a cartoon on Facebook with the police charging forwards towards '15-M/indignados' saying '¡vamos!' and the same police in full retreat saying '¡no vamos!' from 'mineros asturianos', so I guess the latter?

There's a banner that says
"We're not 15-M
We're not pacifists
We're miners
And up till now we've been asking nicely"

but now I can't find the photo anywhere!

Joseph Kay
Jun 11 2012 19:38
fingers malone wrote:

ha, i just spent 20 minutes finding that only to come back and see you'd beat me to it! Other pics I found while looking:

fingers malone
Jun 11 2012 19:51

And those Asturian hillsides look so beautiful too!

Apparently they have changed tactics a bit with the motorway blockades. Instead of building a blockade and trying to hold it they are building the barricade, then cutting across country and building another one somewhere else, to avoid so much police repression but cause a lot of disruption.

From what I can gather public support for the miners is massive.

I asked on the other thread, but does the bailout mean the government are less likely to try to come to some kind of deal? Does it make repression more likely?

Edit: btw the numbers of miners involved is much much smaller than in the miners strike here in 85, then there were about 170 000 miners working in this country I think. Plus most of Spain's energy doesn't come from coal (it's from natural gas from Algeria I think) so the only thing the miners can really do is cause massive disruption, just striking by itself wouldn't get them anywhere.

no1
Jun 11 2012 20:07

Bristol insurrectionists could learn a thing or two:

fingers malone
Jun 11 2012 20:01

the arcos olimpicos photo!

Joseph Kay
Jun 12 2012 19:09

more rocket porn

Django
Jun 12 2012 19:14

no1
Jun 12 2012 19:53

Can anyone explain the point of the fireworks/rockets thing? I mean, I doubt they are actually aiming for cops, or are they?

Joseph Kay
Jun 12 2012 19:58

It looks pretty fun. Maybe keeps the cops at distance (don't want to baton charge up a steep hill into fireworks)?

no1
Jun 12 2012 20:35

Maybe it's also a miners' thing - in Bolivia they usually take dynamite to demos :



Steven.
Jun 12 2012 22:05
no1 wrote:
Can anyone explain the point of the fireworks/rockets thing? I mean, I doubt they are actually aiming for cops, or are they?

yes they are!

Steven.
Jun 12 2012 22:35
Steven. wrote:
no1 wrote:
Can anyone explain the point of the fireworks/rockets thing? I mean, I doubt they are actually aiming for cops, or are they?

yes they are!

for example:

fingers malone
Jun 12 2012 22:45

Night time march in Leon