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Monday 19 July 2010

Torrelodones, Spain - Youths in pitched battle with Guardia Civil

notes from elpais

Riots tookplace two nights in a row, coinciding with the celebrations of Our Lady of Mount Caramel, turning the area into a battlefield, with containers on fire, barricades and youths throwing rocks at police (Guardia Civil) and burning tyres. The young people were angry because they had been forced to leave the fairground, the scene of the festivities. Others, however, assured yesterday that the police charge against the riot was disproportionate. The ruckus ended with four youths, two of them minors, arrested for public disorder, among other crimes. "I woke up at four in the morning. You could hear shouts, firing rubber bullets, police sirens...", "They burned all the containers of this street." The City Council withdrew most of them, but yesterday afternoon there were still a couple in front of the parish.
The Civil Guard seized brass knuckles and other prohibited weapons.
The riots began when people were told to leave at 2 in the morning. Las fiestas del Carmen are held in the fairgrounds, a space with stalls and a funfair which also is a wooded area on a hill, very popular among young people. This year, for the first time, the parties were closed.
According to the Civil Guard and the City of Torrelodones (21,800 inhabitants), young people protested when asked to leave and ended up facing the agents, who seized prohibited weapons such as nunchakus, brass knuckles and pepper spray.
The first riots occurred early Friday to Saturday. The 300 youths present (about 200according to Civil Guard) were not prepared to end the party, they began to protest. Some went further and started throwing glasses against the officers. The Civil Guard moved to the two units at the entrances had Torrelodones: Public Safety Unit (USEC) in Madrid Command Security rural groups. The officers got out of the van when they more objects were thrown. The guards fired several rubber bullets and dispersed the crowd after they torched at least two containers. Two youths of 18 and 20 years were arrested.
The early hours of Sunday was worse, according to the Guardia Civil. Problems reproduced just as music was cut at 3:00. This time the number of young was lower, but they were better organized. When the riots began, there were about 200 people. Three groups of about 30 youths dispersed in the town. At least 15 containers were burned and, according to the Civil Guard, the windows of a branch of Banco Popular were broken. The riots did not stop until 6:30.
The civil guards charged and fired rubber bullets. They arrested two minors, aged
17, residents of Torrelodones. "We anticipated that there would be riots," said a representative of the City Council. Several residents warned that the protest was called over the Internet, through social networks.

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