Far-right backlash on fourth night of Catalan unrest

Two arrested as police were unable to prevent anti-fascist and far-right demonstrators clashing in Barcelona

Protests have taken place every day since the verdict of the Catalan Trial was released (by Pau Cortina)
Protests have taken place every day since the verdict of the Catalan Trial was released (by Pau Cortina) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

October 18, 2019 11:45 AM

A fourth night of protests and disturbances in Barcelona on Thursday saw riot police attempting to prevent a clash between antifascist and far-right extremist demonstrators.

Two demonstrations came together in Plaça Artós square, in the city's Sarrià neighborhood, where the Mossos d'Esquadra Catalan police charged a group of far-right extremists.

Despite police setting up a cordon to keep the groups of a few hundred people apart, they were unable to prevent some violent incidents between the two sets of demonstrators.

One incident in the Catalan capital saw roughly a dozen far-right demonstrators attack a lone anti-fascist, which led to the arrests of two people on Friday afternoon. 

Far-right protesters armed with flares

A far-right organization had called the demonstration to start at 8pm, although many of the demonstrators arrived before that time, armed with flares and rockets.

The protesters made fascist salutes and chanted in favor of Franco and Hitler, while other chants were against the independence camp and Spanish president, Pedro Sánchez.

The opposing demonstration "to combat fascism" was organized by a number of antifascist groups as a response to the protest called by the far-right group.

The presence of the antifascist protesters drew chants from the far-right demonstrators, who cried "This is our land and we'll defend it," and sang the Falangist anthem, "Cara al sol."

"Not enough officers," admits interior department

Later that night, the interior department admitted it had not been able to send enough officers to properly police the two opposing demonstrations and ensure they did not coincide.

In fact, the most serious incidents between the two groups came after the demonstrations had broken up, and the protesters began moving towards the city center.

One antifascist demonstrator was savagely beaten by a group of far-right extremists that was caught on video, which parliament speaker, Roger Torrent, publicly condemned.

Police make a dozen arrests

Meanwhile, the unrest seen in Barcelona and other Catalan cities continued for another night on Thursday, with the Mossos d'Esquadra police making at least a dozen arrests.

Disturbances in Barcelona's central Eixample neighborhood involved protesters again setting up barricades of burning garbage dumpsters and throwing objects at riot police.

Thursday night also saw protesters break into local businesses, such as a branch of CaixaBank, from which they took chairs and desks for barricades, and a clothes store.

In Tarragona, the day after a protester was run over, police used the "carrusel" technique against protesters, which consists of driving vehicles at fast speeds to disperse groups.

Meanwhile, the northern city of Girona also saw more unrest, with barricades lit on fire and protesters throwing stones, glass bottles and eggs at riot officers.