Police arrest 15 at protest outside Congress, which left 29 injured

Barely 1,500 people heed call to gather outside parliament to demand resignation of government

Police line up their defenses outside Congress with the first protestors in the background at Neptuno square.
Police line up their defenses outside Congress with the first protestors in the background at Neptuno square.Zipi (EFE)

The so-called indefinite “siege” of Congress called by anti-system platforms ended up with 15 arrests on Thursday, the majority of them at Madrid’s Complutense University, and 29 people injured, including 14 police officers.

Four of those injured were taken to hospital. Most of those arrested were accused of public order offenses while the other four were found to be in possession of incendiary material.

The pressure group is seeking the resignation of the government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, the dissolution of parliament and the opening of a new constitutional process. But barely 1,500 heeded the call to turn up.

The 11 people detained at the university campus had gained access to the Political Science and Sociology faculty at 8am, locking the doors and, according to police, holding 20 employees against their will.

The government delegation in Madrid and the city’s police headquarters beefed up security around Congress ahead of the demonstration. Over 1,400 anti-riot police were deployed on Thursday, almost outnumbering protesters.  The assembly has been the focus of citizens’ ire on previous occasions, leading to the sealing off of the surrounding area last summer. 

After shouting insults at the police, those entrenched outside Congress began to throw stones and firecrackers at the security forces across the barriers set up outside the building. 

Some of those taking part in the demonstration acknowledged themselves that the protest had been a failure. A number of other groups that normally taken part in such protests, such as 15-M protest movement and the Mortgage Victims Platform (PAH), had distanced themselves from Thursday's mobilization.

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