Two of four members of a Gypsy family arrested earlier this week in connection with the murder of a Senegalese man in Barcelona - an incident that sparked a wave of street violence to protest the death - were ordered to be held in preventive custody after a judge on Friday charged them with murder. The two others were released with charges filed against them for aggression and making threats.
The suspects - a father and his three sons - are residents of the same Besòs neighborhood in which 32-year-old Ibrahima Dyei lived. Dyei was shot dead on Tuesday following an argument over a soccer match. The incident ignited already edgy racial tensions between Gypsies and African immigrants in Barcelona. On Thursday, Gypsy associations and representatives of the Senegalese residents in Catalonia agreed to put their differences aside and made a public commitment not to foment more tension. But the uneasiness continues on the streets of Besòs, a neighborhood situated between Barcelona and Sant Adrià where drug points are common, racial prejudice is rampant and the fight for a decent living space a daily occurrence.
From the balcony of her first-floor apartment, Carmen, a native of Seville, saw the body of Ibrahima Dyei lying on the pavement near the casing of the bullet that killed him. Like many who came seeking a better life during the Franco dictatorship, Carmen has lived in Besòs since 1952. "Back then, this place was full of trees. We would take our chairs out on the streets and hold parties, but that all changed about 10 years ago when the neighborhood started to deteriorate."
The four suspects arrested have more than 60 police charges between them, ranging from drug trafficking to aggression. They are not missed by their neighbors. "They have taken over the street. They let their dogs loose and in the summer, they bring out their swimming pools. But it is best you don't say anything to them," said one neighbor named Francisco.
"We couldn't stand them," said another neighbor. "I hope they stay in jail as long as I am still alive."