Society 18/02/2021

Second night of riots over Pablo Hasél in Barcelona, Girona and Lleida

The Mossos arrest 29 people in the various protests, in which barricades and destruction take place

3 min
A barricade on Balmés Street in Barcelona
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BarcelonaCatalonia lived yesterday a second night of riots in the protests against the imprisonment of Pablo Hasél. Barcelona, Girona and Lleida were the three cities where there were new scenes of burned containers and barricades and also destruction in establishments. The Mossos arrested more people than the day before: 10 in Barcelona, 12 in Lleida, 5 in Girona and 2 in Tarragona -there the A-7 highway was cut. Eight people were injured, seven in Barcelona and one in Lleida. In the Catalan capital yesterday more fires were seen than Tuesday with very virulent flames, and the firemen were not able to put them out. The protesters were scattered in the Eixample and burned barricades simultaneously at several points.

The march in Barcelona started in the Jardinets de Gràcia - the City Police (Guardia Urbana) estimated that 2,200 people had gathered, among whom people of all ages could be seen at the beginning - and went down Passeig de Gràcia without incidents. The tension began when the demonstration reached Plaça Urquinaona and some participants began to move containers and fences. After a few throws against the Mossos, who prevented the march from continuing towards Via Laietana with the vans of the Mobile Brigade (Brimo), the first burning of containers of the night took place.

At that moment, the police strategy was to apply the technique known as carousel in Urquinaona: the Brimo vans circulated quickly through the square to disperse the demonstrators. The manoeuvre caused the demonstrators to spread out, but this did not stop the riots. Just the opposite, because then they started to burn new barricades, first in Plaça Catalunya and then in the surrounding areas: Rambla de Catalunya, Rambla Universitat, Balmes, Pelai and Pau Claris streets and Plaça Universitat, among others.

Police vehicles driving through the barricades in Plaça Urquinaona

The impact of the curfew

The standoff, which began in Urquinaona before half past eight in the evening, lasted until after ten at night, coinciding with the start of the curfew, in the Eixample of Barcelona. The profile of the protesters who remained was young people - the day before, those arrested were between 17 and 25 years old and were residents of the area where they were protesting - who lit containers, fences and whatever they could find while the Brimo vans ran behind them, with officers coming down from time to time and firing foam projectiles, and firefighters putting out the high flame fires. The works on the Universitat ring road made it difficult for vehicles to circulate.

Some people entered a hotel on Passeig de Gràcia and a car dealership on Gran Via, and vandalized these two establishments and others, and burned some motorcycles.

Arrests after the riots broke up

The disturbances in Girona occurred once the demonstration by Hasél was called off, when some attendees threw bottles and firecrackers at the police line in front of the Subdelegation of the Spanish government in Girona, reports Maria Garcia. The Mossos deployed several riot units of the ARRO that dispersed the participants in the Plaça 1 de Octubre. Some made barricades in Santa Clara street and Pont de Pedra and continued in the old quarter of the city, by the Plaça del Vi and Ciutadans street. Plainclothes officers made the arrests when the remaining demonstrators were being dissolved.

Clashes between demonstrators and police in Lleida in protest at the imprisonment of Pablo Hasel

In Lleida the march arrived at the Ponent prison, where Hasél has been behind bars since Tuesday, and ended with burned containers and throwing objects against the police cordon, and the Mossos fired foam projectiles, reports Imma Gonzalez. On the other hand, in Vic, where Tuesday several people smashed the police station, breaking the windows and security cameras, yesterday's concentration passed without incident. The Home Affairs Minister, Miquel Sàmper, had spoken hours before of "gratuitous violence" against the police and that the Mossos would resize their forces, but after the second night of riots this morning they will appear again.

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