FAR-RIGHT POLITICS

Madrid police arrest 300 neo-Nazis in three years amid fears over victim “hunts”

Catalan sovereignty bid fueling latest surge in extremism

Over the past three years almost 300 members of extreme-right organizations have been arrested in the Madrid region. The most recent incident involved an assault on a bookstore in Madrid where the Catalan regional government delegate in the capital, Josep María Bosch, was giving a speech. The issue of Catalan secession from Spain has become a rallying standard for ultra-right groups.

The attack, during which congressional deputy Josep Sánchez Llibre was manhandled, was staged by members of FE-La Falange, Alianza Nacional, Democracia Nacional and Nudo Patriota Español, radical groups with neo-Nazi leanings who together form the La España en Marcha (Spain on the march) platform. This grouping plans to stand in the 2014 European elections and, depending on the results, municipal and regional elections in 2015.

Ultras Sur

The BPI police computer forensic unit maintains a constant watch over far-right groups and so far in 2013 has arrested 65 members of these organizations for acts of violence or inciting xenophobia. In addition to those detained for the bookstore assault in Madrid, the police arrested Aitor F. M., a 17-year-old with links to Real Madrid's Ultras Sur fan group, in Toledo. In the raid 200 Taser guns were seized along with a mold for making knuckledusters, which he then sold to nightclub doormen.

On October 12 two neo-Nazis were arrested at an anti-Communist rock concert in San Sebastián de los Reyes, north of Madrid, for assaulting police officers. The BPI identified 307 neo-Nazis from Spain, Romania, Italy and Portugal in attendance.

In the last three years, far-right sympathizers have carried out several attacks, including the beating of a young black girl in a Madrid park on October 31, 2011. Eleven skinheads were arrested over the assault.

In February 2012, seven suspected members of the White Boys were arrested for assaulting students at the law faculty of Madrid's Complutense University who were attending an event organized by the 15-M social protest movement. The same year Sergio R. M., known as "El Chopi," a former leader of the Ultras Sur and now head of the White Boys, was arrested for illicit association. At around the same time another neo-Nazi was arrested for slashing a young man's face with a broken bottle.

However, it is the neo-Nazis that "go out on the hunt" for completely random victims that most concern the Madrid police. The underground rock concerts organized by extreme-right groups are another source of concern as they provide funding for these organizations.

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