Light Reading
Trains halted, attendees stuck as anti-capitalists disrupt transport connections to Mobile World Congress.

Demonstrators Disrupt MWC

Ray Le Maistre
2/24/2014
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BARCELONA -- Mobile World Congress -- Anti-capitalist protestors threw a spanner in the Mobile World Congress 2014 works on day one by halting the main train service that transports the majority of attendees to the event.

Early visitors got a clear run to the Fira Gran Via showgrounds on the outskirts of Barcelona but by 9 a.m. protestors had set up camp at the entrance to the overground train line at Plaça d'Espanya in the center of the city, denying attendees access to the trains that had been shipping thousands of people per hour to the event. The event is expected to attract more than 70,000 visitors this week.

The handful of protestors are part of a coordinated campaign to disrupt the giant annual mobile show, which according to the protest organizer, "Revolta Global," is targeted at the opulence and greed of a few in the IT and technology sector who exploit the majority of the population, who are paid "miserable wages" and forced to do "precarious work."

'Walk, Capitalist Pigs!'
Protestors block the way to the Mobile World Congress trains, holding up thousands of attendees on day 1 of the event. Picture by Michelle Donegan, who was one of the unlucky travelers.
Protestors block the way to the Mobile World Congress trains, holding up thousands of attendees on day 1 of the event. Picture by Michelle Donegan, who was one of the unlucky travelers.

The show, according to the protestors, is "an attack on our dignity." And in a call to arms -- issued to all protest and anarchist groups in Barcelona, of which there appear to be many -- Revolta Global issued a call to "Stop everything."

They succeeded for about 30 minutes before normality resumed, but the protestors appear to have plans to disrupt the event in different ways throughout the week.

Let's hope they don't target the coffee stands…

— Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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Ray@LR
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Ray@LR,
User Rank: Blogger
2/28/2014 | 5:04:48 AM
Re: Disgusting comments
And to round off....

 

Points taken, for sure, T - maybe we should have a sarcasm alert on the site.

 

On a totally serious note -- the riht to protest if, of source, a fundamental human right, as is free speech.

These protestors on Monday, though, had clearly not put much thought into what they were doing and if they were local (from Barcelona) then they need to re-examine the implicatoins of their actions.

the trains they disrupted for hours on Monday were, for cure, transporting many people to MWC, a symbol of the inequality they are against.

But those trains were not just for MWC attendees - they were regular trains going also to other destinmations being used by local people (many of whom were, understandably, somewhat disgruntled to find their trains packed to the limits). The protestors therefore were stopping regular Barcelona people going to work, school, mab ejob interviews or health appointments? TO block the trains at Placa Espana was mindless when there wre so many other ways they could have made their protest, gained greater exposure for their messaging and not impacted local people going about their lives.

 
mendyk
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mendyk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/25/2014 | 4:51:58 PM
Re: Disgusting comments
Thanks, T. We appreciate your participation here. I will volunteer to conduct a course in Socialism 101, but we don't really have an HR department anymore and it may be difficult to get some people to attend. Their loss.
t.bogataj
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t.bogataj,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/25/2014 | 12:57:24 PM
Re: Disgusting comments
I get your point, that's not an issue. And I am not in favour of puristic approaches to forum discussions on LR -- although moderation is a must on some other sites. You and I both got a chance to express our opinions... as well as others that I disagree with (and oppose to).

Regarding irony, yes. But social media, mobile devices etc. are just tools. Like transportation -- would it be ironic if I used my car to get to a venue to protest against a highway through my neighbourhood? Just as much.

The tools we use to express ourselves (or to protest against something) should not be /mis/used for drawing attention to, and for disregarding the messages we try to convey.

The comments in question were not made by anybody, but by LR's contributors. Is a bit of social sensitivity and responsibility too much to expect from them?

T.
mendyk
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mendyk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/25/2014 | 12:25:50 PM
Re: Disgusting comments
Points taken, but keep in mind that attempts at humor do sometimes cross a line. If posters worried about inciting outrage and took all steps to avoid it, then we'd end up with a message board that looks like it was being policed by humorless drones. You know, kind of the way things were under the previous ownership here. That aside, don't you see just a bit of irony in the use of social media to organize protests against a trade show that only exists because of the communications platform that enables social media?
t.bogataj
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t.bogataj,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/25/2014 | 12:19:14 PM
Re: Disgusting comments
Not in your specific comment, mendyk.

To Dan O'Shea, the protesters should be poor enough not to afford the phones; only that would give them the right to protest? Who on earth protests only to make selfies? Implying that is sick.

To kq4ym, it seems the same: demonstrating against capitalistic exploitation (in the segment of IT) should disallow the use of mobile devices?

To R Clark, protests obviously look as something funny, something requiring poking fun of. Dan Jones provided answer already.

To Sarah, protesters' early rising deserves joking about. Is a protest at 8 AM better than the one at 10 AM?

And Ray seemed to be concerned most about reaching his barrista on time.

The comments completely disregard the reasons for protesters' revolt against the very very sad economic situation of 25+ percent of people in Spain; instead, commenters seem to prefer mocking at the protests. That is sad, very sad. Outrageous in my opinion. You may call it hateful, if you wish so.

T.
mendyk
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mendyk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/25/2014 | 11:49:48 AM
Re: Disgusting comments
Maybe you want to read the comments again. I really don't see anything that justifies your hateful response.
t.bogataj
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t.bogataj,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/25/2014 | 8:50:37 AM
Disgusting comments
All,

most of your comments are disgusting. Ever tried living in Spain? In Greece? Ever experienced long-term unemployment? The feeling your future is but black? The unbelievable ways of exploitation?

You are all welcome to try. Those of you in US can try moving to Detroit.

In a year's time, come back and reread your improprieties.

As a Slovenian saying goes -- It's easy to shit with your arse full.

T.
SarahReedy
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SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
2/25/2014 | 4:16:26 AM
Re: Protesters
Insane. If I lived here, I would go on vacation MWC week every year. Or, I'd stay if I were into easy mugging opportunities.
DanJones
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DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
2/25/2014 | 4:13:02 AM
Re: Protesters
Yeah, it was just the insane amount of people trying to use the train this morning...
SarahReedy
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SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
2/25/2014 | 4:09:07 AM
Re: Protesters
Good point. My trip home got rerouted several times two years ago because of protesters, but at least I had other options. They weren't at the station today around 8 a.m. I guess they aren't early risers.
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