30 injured and 14 arrested in altercations and lootings during anti-restrictions protest
Far-right groups believed to be present in Barcelona, rally might have been inspired by latest riots in Italy
The Catalan Mossos d'Esquadra police informed of 30 people injured and 14 arrested – including two minors – in the protest against the latest Covid-19 restrictions in Barcelona center that descended into altercations and lootings on Friday night.
A Mossos inspector, Alícia Moriana, said on Saturday morning on 3/24 news channel that they did not expect such violence in the rally.
They are now investigating the profile of the people rioting, and they believe far-right groups were present in the events, and that they might have been inspired by the latest riots in Italy.
"There might be some coordination or certain analogy to the events happening in close countries like Italy, we are working on this hypothesis but it is not confirmed yet," said the Mossos director general, Pere Ferrer, on Friday on RAC1 station.
Peaceful protest until extremist groups arrived
In the early evening, 1,500 people gathered in front of the Catalan government headquarters in Plaça Sant Jaume, including many who were directly affected by the closure of businesses like bars, restaurants, and gyms.
According to police reports, the protest remained peaceful until the far-right groups arrived and started throwing metal fences as well as firecrackers at officers guarding the government headquarters.
Agents responded with their batons and clashes quickly escalated, with the main clashes taking place in Via Laietana with burning dumpsters used as barricades.
Looting in sports shops
Two sports shops, including a Decathlon one, were looted – a neighbor was able to record a video where some youngsters are seen breaking into the shop and leaving some seconds later with bicycles and electric scooters.