What was behind escalated force in crisis-driven Spain? Explaining the policing of the Indignados’ protests
This article delves analytically into the nature and sources of public relationships between police officers and protesters in crisis-driven Spain. By drawing on intertextual qualitative source analysis, it locates the policing of the Indignados’ protests on the continuum determined by the antinomic ideal types of escalated force and negotiated management very close to the former. It aims to explain what was behind the use of escalated force by the Spanish law enforcement agencies against the 15-M Movement. Although the Indignados’ goals were not undemocratic, they were treated and fought by the law enforcement agencies precisely as criminals threatening democracy, Spain, and Spaniards. The major argument is that treating the protest movement as the enemy that had to be suppressed might have been a defense mechanism of militant democracy. Transforming the Indignados into the enemy might have resulted from fears of threatening the existing status quo and losing political elites’ own state positions.
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