Why were 1,750 police unable to contain a few violent protestors?

Opposition demands answers over “lack of coordination” during March 22 Dignity Marches

The opposition is partly blaming police chiefs for the violent end to last Saturday's mostly peaceful demonstration against social spending cuts in Madrid.

Socialists and other political groups claim poor coordination resulted in a small group of police officers becoming isolated and exposed to several dozen violent protestors, while the bulk of the 1,750-strong force was posted in places where nothing was happening.

Ignacio Cosidó, director general of the National Police, said he would appear before Congress as soon as the internal investigation had been completed. The Union, Progress and Democracy party (UPyD) has also asked for Interior Minister Jorge Fernández Díaz to provide his own explanation of the events, which resulted in 24 arrests, over 100 injured (of whom 67 were police officers) and damage estimated at €166,000.

The question on everyone’s lips is, how could a contingent of 1,750 police officers be unable to contain a few dozen violent individuals?

“The violent individuals made it through the filters. Protestors and police officers were endangered”

The so-called “Dignity Marches” were not organized by political parties with congressional representation, but by dozens of social groups, unions, professional associations and a few extreme-left nationalist groups.

While the opposition does not deny that there were acts of vandalism, it is basing its criticism on complaints formulated by the police unions.

“The violent individuals made it through the filters,” said Antonio Trevín, spokesman for domestic affairs for the Socialist Group. “Protestors and police officers were endangered because of a lack of coordination, and the price was paid by the police but also by the citizens who were peacefully exercising their right to demonstrate. The director general of the police needs to explain the shortcomings in coordination and the scandalous subsequent contradictions between police chiefs and the government delegation in Madrid.”

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