The Barcelona riots have also reached Madrid. Hundreds of people have gathered this afternoon at the Puerta del Sol in the capital to support rapper Pablo Hasél, who on Tuesday entered prison for crimes of glorifying terrorism and insults to the Crown. What began at 7:00 p.m. as an unauthorized but peaceful demonstration unraveled shortly before 8:00 p.m. to lead to a pitched battle half an hour later. The scenes of tension followed one another, as well as the confrontations. The banners that read “Pablo Hasel Freedom. Total Amnesty” or “Pablo Hasel Freedom, Franco’s Justice Out” led to insults and chants against Police officers such as “Being a policeman, it would give me shame” or “Nazi by day, by night Police”. Later, several protesters opted for throwing objects at the authorities, prompting agents from the Police Intervention Unit (IPU) to charge on several occasions and shoot rubber balls and tear gas.
One of the most shocking charges was experienced when a group of congregants tried to access Carretas Street in the direction of the Congress of Deputies. The pressure, as the minute hand advanced, was transferred to the surrounding streets where some young people formed barricades with garbage containers, which they later set on fire, to make it difficult for police officers to access. The flames reached three meters in height, threatening some homes in the area. On Espartero Street, some neighbors came down with buckets of water to prevent the flames from growing. Other residents directly threw water from their balconies. As some streets burned, gunshots rang out. Shortly before the clock struck 9:00 p.m., Puerta del Sol was vacated, while the arrests continued to take place.
Groups of very young people, who did not reach the age of 20, without a mask or any safety distance, ran through the streets escaping from the agents and throwing away all the garbage cans that they found in their path, littering the roads. You could also see raised cobblestones, which were used as a throwing weapon, as well as dislodged sewers. The clearest example of the violence experienced could be felt in Arenal Street. Few establishments were spared the ire of the protesters. A bench with its exterior window broken. A clothing store with destroyed windows, whose alarm would not stop sounding, and in which you could see piles of clothes on the floor inside, which gave reason to think that there could have been looting. Even the Lottery administration located on this street knew the fury of the protesters, who broke its glass door. The dome of the Puerta del Sol metro was not spared damage, as were the scooters and bollards in the area.
The riots have resulted in the arrest of 19 people and 55 injured, 30 of the agents of the National Police, according to police sources. The Samur-Civil Protection has treated 55 people for minor injuries, of which three have required hospital transfer, according to sources from Emergencias Madrid. In a message through his Twitter account, the mayor of the capital has given his “resounding” support to the Security Forces, has spoken out against violence, and has demanded the rest of the parties that support him. The president of the Community of Madrid, Isabel Diaz Ayuso, has not hesitated to censor the “assault on the streets” by the “criminals” in Sol or to show her gratitude to the police officers for “defending peace” in Madrid.
My solidarity with the injured police officers and my absolute condemnation of the criminals who have assaulted the streets with the support of the ultra-left,” he shared on his Twitter with an image of the concentration not authorized by the Government Delegation. For his part, the spokesman for United We Can in the Congress of Deputies, Pablo Echenique, has supported the acts of protest in the streets. He used his Twitter account to convey his support “to the young anti-fascists who are demanding justice and freedom of expression in the streets.”The Minister of Justice, Interior, and Victims of the Community of Madrid, Enrique Lopez, declared himself categorically when he saw Echenique’s tweet and asked the Government of Spain and the PSOE to “condemn energetically and immediately tweets” such as that of the United spokesperson Can.
Otherwise they will also be accomplices of a radical minority that uses violence to attack the current democratic system,” said Lopez. And he added: “The speech of violence and hatred cannot be justified. It is against the law, democracy itself, and the rule of law. The protest began in a festive atmosphere between chants to demand the Catalan rapper’s release from prison. ‘Freedom, Pablo Hasel’, have insistently chanted those gathered in front of the headquarters of the Government of the Community of Madrid, most of them wearing Covid-19 masks but not always keeping the safety distance recommended by the health authorities. There have also been incidents in Barcelona, where the concentration has given way to the burning of containers and the erection of barricades. Several hundred people had gathered for the second consecutive day of protests over the imprisonment of rapper Pablo Hasel.
The Mossos d’Esquadra have arrested 29 people in Catalonia, according to the provisional balance. Ten of these arrests have been in Barcelona, another 12 in Lleida, two more in Tarragona, and five in Girona, the Mossos have reported. The protesters have gathered in a festive attitude in the Jardines de Gracia from seven in the afternoon. Shortly before eight in the afternoon, they began to march in a demonstration on Passeig de Gracia in Barcelona. And from that time on the riots have started. The protesters have entered a hotel causing damage. They have also attacked some businesses even though they were with the metal shutters down, reports German Gonzalez. In Lleida, there are already riots with burning containers in the streets near the Ponent prison, where Hasel was admitted after his arrest. About a thousand people had gathered there, according to the Guardia Urbana. The Mossos have identified some of the attendees and have searched the backpacks at all entrances to the Plaza Europa roundabout, where the action was carried out.