Violence on the streets as tension runs high during Franco mass

LAST UPDATED: 19 Dec, 2007 @ 13:06
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Violence on the streets as tension runs high during Franco massPolice arrest four as extremists battle in Granada

THE anniversary of the death of Francisco Franco brought violent scenes to the streets of Granada on the anniversary of the dictator’s death on November 20.

Left-wing extremists clashed outside the cathedral, where a mass in honour of the former dictator was being celebrated.

Police were called as members of the far right and left damaged property in the centre of the city.

Tensions between extremist political groups have intensified across the country since November 11, when 16-year-old ‘anti-fascist’ Carlos Javier Palomino was stabbed to death – allegedly by a neo-Nazi member of Spain’s armed forces – on the Madrid metro.

The internet and mobile phone text messages had mobilised many leftist groups to Granada on November 20 – the 22nd anniversary of Franco’s death – to protest against perceived fascist aggression.

Far-right groups were also in the city to commemorate Spain’s former ruler and José Antonio Primo de Rivera, the founding member of the Falange party who was executed by Republican forces in 1936 – coincidentally on November 20.

The Falange is considered to be the political group of Spain’s right wing.

According to a police spokesman, a group of 20 militant extremists broke away from the rest of the anti-fascism protestors and went on a violent spree, vandalising the city centre. They targeted two estate agencies and a billiards club off Calle Pedro Antonio de Alarcón, which is said to be frequented by far-right extremists.

One man was still inside one of the estate agencies when the protestors attacked: “I was inside with the lights on when some hooded youths began to bang the windows with bricks” he explained.

“After a few blows they smashed the window and the door, then I called the police but they said they could not come out to me as all the officers were busy.”

Reports suggest that charges by groups of riot police resulted in a number of injuries, but failed to avoid protestors setting up barricades, burning bins, throwing fireworks and smashing shop windows.

Four people were arrested and charged with public order offences.

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