Madrid: Demonstration in memory of Ramón Barrios

The poster reads:

Demonstration in memory of Ramón Barrios and for all the kids who lose their lives in youth detention centres.

July 7th, 2013 at 6pm. From Ciudad de Los Ángeles to Agata Square. Metro: Ciudad de los Ángeles (line 3).

It’s been 2 years since the death of Ramón Barrios in the youth detention centre Teresa de Calcuta. Ramón Barrios was a kid from Villaverde (district in Southern Madrid) who was serving a sentence of 12 weekends for stealing whilst being underage. The second weekend, a psychologist from the centre went to his parents’ house to inform them of his death. Death due to cardiac arrest. The reason why? It’s unknown; he got anxious, he was restrained, and he died. It was in the morgue, when the make-up went away, that the signs of beating became visible.

Apparently, the circumstances in these prisons for children have changed significantly, as in the last few years several deaths and cases of abuse have been exposed, receiving much attention in the media. Nonetheless, the fact that the jailers are more careful when applying “restraint” methods, or that the judge pays “inspection” visits to the centres (generally, such as in the case of the juvenile judges in Valladolid, with previous notice given to the director of the centre) has not changed the fact that our kids are still locked up. They are serving sentences in prison, subjugated to the authority and impunity of those who are in charge of incarcerating and “reeducating” them.

That is why we want to remember Ramón with this demo, because his death was not just an “excess” of the application of a method, nor an error in the execution of the law of juvenile criminal responsibility, i.e. a law for children and adolescents below 18 years old. His death was the logical consequence of a society that locks its problems away, that looks away to avoid seeing that there are people, children among them, who are deprived of freedom. To remember Ramón is to remember that there are still young people locked up; it is to remember that the State robs us of our capacity to and possibility of managing our own lives and conflicts, and then locks us away. The State jails our children, our brothers and sisters, our comrades, our grandchildren, etc., stealing away their connections, affections, places, and lives.

We do not believe in their laws, nor in their Justice. The answer to the problems of our children is the answer to our own problems, those of our neighbourhoods and towns. The solution is not, neither can it be, prison at all. Prison is the solution for Power’s interests. Prisons, including those for children, worsens rootlessness, causes suffering and death, and perpetuates marginalization and exclusion.

They want to sweep the conflicts of society under the rug so they cannot be seen, to erase them, so that we do not think about the real problem and how to solve it for ourselves. They would love if no one ever talked about Ramón, that no one ever knew about a 19 year old kid who was serving a prison sentence and was beaten up to death. We will not let that happen; we will keep on fighting against them, against their prisons, and against their society. For Ramón, for us, for all the others.

Assembly Against Youth Detention Centres – centrosdemenores
Neighbourhood Coordination – coordinadoradebarrios

the text in Spanish