A 30-YEAR-OLD man has been arrested after assaulting 10 women in a Barcelona metro station on Friday, in what police are investigating as a possible hate crime.
One woman was seriously injured after the man walked along the platform at the Camp de l’Arpa station on the Barcelona metro’s line 5 and randomly struck women waiting for their train.
In security footage he can be seen forcefully striking a victim’s face — who was knocked to the ground by the force of the blow — before fleeing the scene running as bystanders began to pursue him.
Six assaults occurred on the platform, police said, while others occurred elsewhere in the station.
According to David Sanchez, spokesperson of the Catalan police force Mossos d’Esquadra, the man was initially detained by metro security agents, but released by police shortly after, as most of the victims had left and police were unaware of his criminal record.
By the time the Mossos arrived on scene, only one victim remained on the platform, as the others had already left on the train.
It wasn’t until later Friday afternoon, after police discovered the suspect’s past record and saw the security footage and one of the victims’ medical report that they began investigating the incident as a possible hate crime and moved to arrest the man, reported 20minutos.
The man had been previously detained for theft and petty crime, police said.
Police knew the attacker and were familiar with his movements, which allowed them to locate him quickly, Sanchez said.
There is no immediate evidence that the suspect continued attacking women after his release, although police are asking for all witnesses and victims to come forward and report any further assaults.
On X, the Mossos asked that all victims file police reports in order to help the investigation.
The suspect is currently in police custody, where he will remain until brought to court.
According to the Barcelona government website, 79.3% of women have experienced some form of gender-based violence.
In 2022, 10 women were killed in Catalunya because of their genders.
Catalan Councilor for Equality and Feminism Tània Verge condemned the attacks.
“If you were a victim, you can report it to any police station, and also get psychological support from the public network of services for gender-based violence,” she wrote on X.
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