The Catalan police are refreshingly friendly. But if the time for action comes, the Guardian‘s Charlie Skelton asks whose side will they be on:
The enormous bald detective in beach shorts took the camera from my wife. “Let me see.” He scrolled through the photographs, just taken, of me being detained at the campsite gates. He scrolled past, to see a photo of a limousine convoy, whooshing up the hill to Bilderberg. “I don’t like this,” he said, and waved a huge, disgruntled hand towards the conference hotel.
“Do you know how much this is costing?” asked Hannah. “Do you think the Spanish economy can afford all this?” Grimly, the enormous bald detective started deleting images of his comrades with his giant thumb. “Your opinion,” he growled, “is right.”
He handed the camera back to Hannah. “But you’ve deleted my best shots!” The detective whistled to his comrades, who were busy sniffing a jar of salted olives they had found in my car boot. He had them turn around, facing away from the camera. “Go head,” he rumbled. “Take photographs.”
What a difference a year makes. Last year in Vouliagmeni when I tried covering the 2009 Bilderberg meeting, I had Greek policemen yelling “No fotografia!” at me at every turn. I was arrested, tailed, harassed, rearrested, yelled at, bundled into squad cars, lied to, intimidated, wrestled with and hounded round Athens like I was John Dillinger.
This year, the police have been deployed in the same extraordinary numbers, but they are smiling, rolling their eyes at the rigmarole; the riot police are giving the thumbs-up to protesters and honking their horns as they come round the “awareness roundabout” at the foot of the hotel.
“The police have been laughing and chatting,” says Daniel Turon, a Spanish psycho-sociologist, here in Sitges to psycho-sociologise Bilderberg. “One of them said he had read a book about Bilderberg; another said, ‘Yes, we understand.'” The Catalan police, he says, “have a different sensibility” from what you may expect. “They are Catalan. Their minds are independent.”…
[continues in the Guardian]