Anti-Podemos protestors scuffle with journalists at Madrid demonstration

Around 400 people came out to express rejection of Manuela Carmena as mayor A group of the demonstrators began to insult and shove media covering the event

F. Javier Barroso
Pablo Machuca, from El Huffington Post, is assaulted by one of the protestors.
Pablo Machuca, from El Huffington Post, is assaulted by one of the protestors.samuel sánchez

Around 400 people took part in a demonstration in Madrid’s Plaza de Colón on Saturday, to protest against former judge Manuela Carmena becoming mayor of the Spanish capital. The Ahora Madrid candidate is likely to take office if she can reach an agreement with the Socialist Party (PSOE) to vote her in.

The authorities had not been properly advised of Saturday’s protest, which required the intervention of police officers after a group began insulting and acting violently toward journalists covering the event.

Death threats were aimed at the reporters, who were pushed and shoved and saw their camera lenses repeatedly covered by the demonstrators.

Moments of tension between reporters and demonstrators on Saturday.

The protest had been organized via the social networks, and was held in favor of a cross-party pact between the Popular Party (PP), the PSOE and emerging party Ciudadanos, with the aim of stopping Manuela Carmena from becoming mayor.

“They are going to take away a lot of things, and we don’t agree with that,” said one woman at the protest. “Esperanza Aguirre, who won the most votes, should form a government, and not four or five little parties getting together.”

Aguirre, a veteran PP politician, won 21 seats at the elections, but fell short of the 29 needed for a majority. Ahora Madrid, meanwhile, won 20 seats, meaning that a pact with the PSOE (nine seats) would be enough for Carmena to become mayor.

Riot police were forced to intervene in order to separate the protestors from the media, and called for reinforcements

“I am in favor of Esperanza Aguirre and the PP because we are comfortable with their government,” added a man on a bicycle, who was draped in the Spanish flag.

The moments of tension began when a small group of protestors approached a camera crew from TV network La Sexta, which was trying to cover the demonstration. From that moment, threats and insults were directed at all of the media at the event. “I am going to kill you! You won’t get out of here alive!” shouted a man in a beige waistcoat and black sunglasses. He then began pushing one of the journalists, trying to throw him out of the square. More insults followed, despite the fact that the protestors had not been provoked by any of the media. In the scuffles, one of the reporters saw his camera damaged after it was swatted to the ground.

Riot police at the scene were forced to intervene in order to separate the protestors from the media, and swiftly called for reinforcements.

“You lot are shameless, you make up whatever you want!” the protestors called out to the media. “I don’t want you to record me, if you do I’ll kill you,” said another.

The officers took the details of a number of the protestors.

The central government delegate in Madrid, Concepción Dancausa, condemned the incident via her Twitter account. “I completely reject and condemn the insults and assaults on journalists who were working today in the Plaza de Colón,” she wrote on the microblogging site.

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