Spain

By Loewenberg, Sam | The Nation, April 14, 2003 | Go to article overview
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Spain


Loewenberg, Sam, The Nation


Madrid

The Spanish capital took on the air of a battle zone the weekend after the war began, as antiwar protesters clashed with riot police throughout the city. A bizarre scene greeted nighttime revelers moving between Madrid's bars and theaters on Friday and Saturday night, as protesters ran down the streets in packs chased by police in black helmets and swinging batons. The city's emergency services reported that 168 people were injured, including fifty people protesting outside the US Embassy on Friday, according to El Pais.

On Saturday evening, officers lined Madrid's main boulevard, the Gran Via, holding black anti-riot shields and occasionally firing shotguns, presumably loaded with blanks, into the air. In Barcelona on Friday, police fired rubber bullets, slightly injuring several protesters.

As the bombs dropped over Baghdad, the demonstrations had a different tone from the ones in the preceding weeks, and by nightfall they had dissolved into anarchy. Dozens of garbage cans were lit on fire, and masked teenage protesters screamed and taunted the armored police arrayed along the streets.

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