VIOLENT riots broke out in Madrid last night following the death of a Senegalese street vendor who suffered a heart attack while being chased by police.
Shocking images show the inner city district of Lavapiés in ruins, after the battle broke out between Madrid police and migrants.
Protesters are thought to have taken to the streets between 9pm and 1.30am, setting fire to dust bins, throwing rocks and damaging shops, bus shelters and banks.
A 24-year-old Lavapiés resident, who chose not to be named, told the Olive Press that the area is ‘like a warzone’.
“There’s a lot of conflict and the police have been hitting people,” she added.
The Madrileña said she could not sleep during the night due to a police helicopter circling the area.
“This morning when I went to work it was awful – everything was completely burnt and dirty,” she added.
The rebellion broke out after Senegalese street vendor, Mame Mbaye Ndiaye, was selling items in Puerta del Sol – a busy tourist area in central Madrid – when police asked to see his I.D.
He is thought to have suffered a cardiac arrest while he was being chased by officials from Puerta del Sol to Lavapiés.
Ndiaye, said to be in his mid-30s, was found unconscious on a street in Lavapiés by police, who reportedly attempted to revive him before emergency services arrived.
The resident added: “People are tired because recently, [the police] have been targeting black people a lot. They keep stopping them in the street asking for their DNI.
“It’s sad because this is what the police wanted, that the Senegaleses look bad in order to justify that it’s necessary to keep checking their ID.
“There’s a lot of Senegalese people in Lavapiés saying that this is horrible, that they didn’t want to burn things and that the man who died wouldn’t want this because now they look bad.”
Meanwhile, General director of the Police Germán López Iglesias claimed radicals ‘could have taken advantage’ of the protests, with ‘far-left locals’ being accused of encouraging the violent riots.
The young woman who witnessed the events added: “There is always a small number of far-left Spaniards who go to protests like these to cause trouble and vandalise property.”
Protesters say Ndiaye arrived 14 years ago by boat and had been attempting to gain legal documents to work in Spain.
However, he had been refused a working visa and was illegally selling items such as perfume and bags on the streets and sent his earnings back to his family.
Modu, a 25-year-old vendor also from Senegal, told AFP news agency: “Municipal police arrived and chased him from Sol to Lavapiés with a motorbike.
“In the end, he died here.”
AFP reported that others also confirmed this account.
Six Spaniards have been arrested since the protests began.
Policía Nacional are investigating.