MADRID – The Spanish National Police have arrested at least 15 activists from the ecological group Futuro Vegetal in an ongoing operation that unfolded Thursday morning in several provinces of the country.
Police sources confirmed this to Infobae España. Those arrested, believed to be involved in an action by the group in Madrid, are accused of membership of a criminal organisation and other offenses related to protests.
This police operation against Futuro Vegetal joins 11 other arrests of the group’s activists made by law enforcement recently. Madrid’s Provincial Information Brigade is investigating the group as a criminal organisation and has already taken statements from several members.
Protest actions by Futuro Vegetal
Futuro Vegetal – which calls itself a ‘movement of disobedience’ – has defaced the national headquarters of the political parties PSOE and PP with red and black paint – their characteristic colours – as protest actions. Furthermore, a building of the Ministry of Justice and the main entrance to the Congress of Deputies were also targets of the action group. After the police operation, the group stated that it saw it as “a large-scale operation to dismantle the environmental group”.
🔴 15 ACTIVISTAS DETENIDAS ESTA MAÑANA 🔴
Esta mañana 15 compañeras han sido detenidas y acusadas por la @policia de pertenecer a una organización criminal, lo que supone casi una treintena de detenciones para el colectivo desde el 1 de diciembre.https://t.co/NVJMzbhnSi
— FuturoVegetal🍒 (@FuturoVegetal) December 21, 2023
Condemnation of the “criminalisation of protests”
They condemn the “criminalisation of protests” and emphasise that “suppressing non-violent climate activists is absurd.” They state that none of the activists have been convicted of actions related to Futuro Vegetal.
Research into financing
The first arrests of the ecological group members took place in Madrid in early December, when COP28 was in Dubai. Days later there were further arrests, including those of two activists in France for alleged sabotage of a petrol station. All those arrested, according to the group’s policy, refused to explain themselves to police and have been released. Although they are still being investigated further for membership of a criminal organisation.
What classes as a criminal organisation?
Article 570a of the Criminal Code explains that a criminal organisation is considered a group of more than two people who work together to commit crimes. This group must be organised and assigned tasks to commit these crimes. An important condition is that they derive financial benefit or an economic goal from it. In the case of the Futuro Vegetal activists, police are investigating whether they can be considered such an organised criminal group.
Financing “completely transparent”
Futuro Vegetal stated to Infobae España that their financing, which is used for costs related to the activists’ activities, is “completely transparent.” With this they finance materials such as the paint they used at the headquarters of PSOE and PP. Furthermore, the travel of group members is financed or legal assistance is provided when they are arrested.