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Unrest sparks fire in Girona’s banlieus

In Paris, back in 2005, the death of young boys fleeing from police, spread violence and unrest across the outer suburbs. Now, in Catalonia, the accident of a 16 year-old who fell from a building while escaping police, has sent a wave of violence and vandalism across the town of Salt, forcing the deployment of more security officers in the area.

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19 January 2011 10:39 PM

by

ACN / Laura Pous

Salt (ACN).- Five cars and seven motorbikes were set on fire over the weekend in the Catalan town of Salt, in the north-east of the country. A group of young people were protesting against the accident of a 16 year-old who fell from a building while escaping police. The unrest shares similarities to the 2005 events in the Parisian banlieues, when the death of two young boys spread violence and unrest across the suburbs.


On Friday, a group of friends and relatives of the young boy \u2013who is still in a critical situation in hospital- marched through the streets of Salt in protest against his accident. The protest was generally peaceful, but ended with some youngsters setting fire to bins, motorbikes and cars. The incidents have spread over the weekend and police have arrested at least three people \u2013two teenagers and one adult, all of whom are immigrants by origin.

Salt has been working hard in the last few years to integrate the large number of immigrants who have arrived in the city. The job has proved challenging and there have been some episodes of violence and clashes between immigrants and non-immigrants. The council is claiming that the unrest this weekend has nothing to do with immigration and local organisations are urging all citizens to get together against violence and in favour of integration and cooperation among cultures.

According to experts, cases of marginalisation, young unemployment and frustration could be behind the unrest. Now the challenge is for the local authorities in Salt and the new immigrant communities in the town to work together to avoid incidents and new episodes of violence. At the moment, a huge deployment of police is in town 'until necessary', according to the mayor, Iolanda Pineda. She said, however, that the priority in Salt is to 'work to find solutions to improve co-existence and gain the maximum unity' amongst the town's citizens, whatever their origin.

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  • The façade of the building burnt (by M. Lopez)

  • The façade of the building burnt (by M. Lopez)
Unrest sparks fire in Girona’s banlieus