Anti-fascists rampage through Lavapiés, clashing with police
A street battle between police and so-called anti-fascist youths wrought destruction across the Madrid district of Lavapiés on Friday night, leaving residents of the neighbourhood shocked and bewildered.3 March 2008
MADRID - A street battle between police and so-called anti-fascist youths wrought destruction across the Madrid district of Lavapiés on Friday night, leaving residents of the neighbourhood shocked and bewildered.
Triggered by an earlier protest in the area by right-wing extremists, young radicals took to the streets, burning garbage containers, setting fire to cars and breaking windows of area locales. "All I know is that they destroyed my car," lamented Chakib, a 38-year-old Moroccan resident, who says his insurance will not cover the cost of a new vehicle.
A neighbour, 26-year-old Carlos, awoke Saturday to find his vehicle damaged. The back window appeared to have been shattered by a tear gas canister fired by police, the windscreen had a hole in it from a rock thrown by protestors and a passenger window appeared to have been smashed by fire fighters who then soaked the interior with water.
Other residents, uninvolved in the violence, suffered similar losses. Some, like Carlos, blame the authorities for having let the demonstration of right wingers go ahead in the first place. "It was a provocation. I'm planning to sue the state (for compensation)," he said.
One young man who admitted to being involved in Friday's violence said the anti-fascists had wanted to "stop the fascists from protesting." He claimed that they reacted when police began firing rubber bullets and tear gas at them.
[Copyright EL PAÍS / ELENA G. SEVILLANO 2008]