Spanish police 'fed up' with indignant protests

2nd September 2011, Comments 0 comments

Spanish police are fed up with insults and extra work they blame on "indignant" protests that have swept the country, a police union said Friday.

The "indignant" movement began when thousands of people set up camp in the Puerta del Sol square ahead of May 22 municipal elections to protest high unemployment, welcare cuts and corruption.

A vast ramshackle protest 'village' in the square was dismantled by demonstrators on June 12 but members of the nationwide 15-M movement have since staged regular, overwhelmingly peaceful protests.

"This is causing problems in the police, it is stretching out our hours, we get insults from the protesters," said Agustin Vigo Barreiro, secretary of the Federal Police Union (UFP), one of the three big police unions.

"We are under a lot of pressure."

Officers were frustrated by orders to refrain from acting against illegal protests, he told AFP after the union was supported in its complaints by Eurocop, a Brussels-based umbrella group for 34 police unions.

"They order us to put up with it," Barreiro said.

The indignant protests have been almost entirely peaceful but police have occasionally clashed with demonstrators in blocking or dispersing gatherings or clearing protest encampments.

Police last month opened a disciplinary inquiry after a hit YouTube video seemed to show an officer striking a girl during protests against the cost of Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Madrid.

© 2011 AFP

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