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Police charge protesters in Barcelona

Riot police on Wednesday baton-charged and arrested protesters in Barcelona at a student demonstration against economic cuts, police and witnesses said.

An AFP photographer at the scene saw riot police in helmets charging students and striking them with batons. Photographs on Spanish news websites showed containers burning in the streets and smashed windows.

“A small group started throwing heavy objects at the officers and the front of the stock exchange building” in the centre of the city, a police spokesman told AFP by telephone.

“The crowd was dispersed and arrests were made,” he added, without saying how many people were detained.

“Most of the demonstration carried on and a small group behaved violently,” said the police spokesman, who asked not to be named.

Thousands of students marched in various Spanish cities on Wednesday in anger over crisis spending cuts that are hitting schools and universities and against recent police violence against protesters.

In the city of Valencia on February 20, police beat and arrested youths during what organisers said was a peaceful student demonstration.