CORONAVIRUS

Violent youths disrupt peaceful march against coronavirus curfew in Seville

Videos shared on social media show individuals hurling smoke grenades and setting fire to a trash container

Images of the violent incidents at the march.(TWITTER / EL PAIS)

Flares, rockets, smoke grenades and at least one trash container set on fire. That’s how a protest against Spain’s nighttime curfew ended on Tuesday in Pino Montano, a working-class neighborhood in Seville, in the southern Spanish region of Andalusia.

Since the government declared a state of alarm on Sunday, all of Spain – with the exception of the Canary Islands – has been under a nighttime curfew which is aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus. Under the decree, movement is restricted between 11pm and 6am, although regional authorities may push the start and end time one hour ahead or back as they see fit. In Andalusia, the regional government has set the curfew from 11pm, but has indicated that this may be pushed back to midnight.

The curfew rules, however, have been criticized by the platform Pino Montano Fights Back, which argues they will destroy local businesses. To protest the move, the organization called a demonstration on Tuesday under the slogan “For freedom and the future of our neighborhood.” Residents were asked to take to the streets to demonstrate against the curfew and were reminded to wear face masks.

At around 10.30pm, the protest was interrupted by around 20 youths in hooded sweaters. Yelling “Fewer police, more healthcare!” the group began to disrupt the peaceful rally. In videos that quickly went viral on social media, the protesters are seen throwing flares and rockets, pushing over a motorbike and setting fire to a trash container. Some of the recordings were made by residents of the neighborhood who were outraged by what they saw, and others by the protesters themselves. Firefighters who tried to put out the burning trash containers had bottles and other objects thrown at them by the group.

Local and national police were called to the scene to stop the street disturbances and enforce the curfew rules. According to police sources, no one was arrested on Tuesday night, but several individuals have since been identified and located thanks to the video footage.

English version by Melissa Kitson.


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