Centre for unaccompanied foreign minors in Torredembarra attacked

Police looking for the perpetrators of the acts, which took place after a neighborhood demonstration calling for more security

3 min
The windows of the Torredembarra children's centre, smashed after the attack on Thursday.

TorredembarraA group of Torredembarra (Tarragonès) residents attacked a youth centre for unaccompanied foreign minors in the town on Thursday, injuring two of the detainees, one of them gravely. The events took place after a neighbourhood demonstration demanding more security after several crimes were committed by some young adults living in a squat in the area. Once the rally was over, dozens of protesters went on to search for some of the squatters and ended up assaulting a youth living in the centre, who was injured and is now in the Santa Tecla Hospital in Tarragona with a broken nose. They also went to the centre for minors, owned by the Generalitat, and vandalised it before entering and scaring the residents.

Attack with racist insults

A few hundred people gathered yesterday afternoon in Torredembarra to demand more security in the area near a squat in the Mimoses street. According to their report, the adult squatters are frightening the neighbourhood. Since last July the Catalan police, known as Mossos d'Esquadra, and the Local Police of Torredembarra have made up to eleven arrests, mainly for burglaries in homes and vehicles, but also for resistance, disobeying authority and theft.

As reported by sources in the Mossos, the demonstration passed without incident, but later a group of about eighty people moved to Mimoses street with the intention, allegedly, to throw young people out of the squat. According to the Town Council's a statement, the protesters uttered "racist insults and threats", but a police line closed them off.

A group of people protesting in this place then went to the surroundings of the Parc de Cal Llovet and assaulted an 18-year-old boy who resides in the Generalitat's center for minors in Torredembarra. The boy managed to take refuge in a Chinese bazaar and, although the attackers insisted the owner of the premises make him leave, finally a patrol of the local police lowered the shutter of the business and prevented greater harm. The City Council has pointed out that two more minors had to take refuge in the Library Mestra Maria Antònia.

Damage to the Youth Detention Centre in Torredembarra

According to the Mossos, this group returned to Mimoses street to try to enter the squat, but failed. Meanwhile, a group of half a dozen people - extreme right-wing sympathisers, according to eyewitnesses - assaulted the youth center, broke the glass of the entrance door and windows and damaged furniture inside. According to the council's version, up to fifty people were involved. The residents had to take refuge in the rooms until the arrival of the police. The Mossos have opened investigation to identify the group that assaulted the teenagers and who damaged the building.

Department of Social Affairs condemns the facts

The Department of Labour, Social Affairs and Families has issued a statement in which it "condemns the aggression suffered yesterday evening by two boys residing in the juvenile center of Torredembarra, one of them with serious injuries, as well as the attack that has caused significant damage to the center". The Department describes the attack as "very serious and wants to recall that child protection centers are public services that accommodate the most vulnerable people in our society: minors without family references, in a situation of social vulnerability". "It is unacceptable that there are those who want to focus hatred towards the people we should protect the most," adds the statement. Social Affairs has reiterated its "outright rejection of these violent attitudes in the spaces where minors live under the guardianship of the administration" and has announced that it "has already asked its legal team to report these facts".

The Federation of Entities of Care for Children and Teenagers (Fedaia) has also "firmly" condemned the attack on the youth center of a group of unidentified people and that "have not listened to the reasons that have been given". The entity denounces that it is an "indiscriminate attack motivated by prejudice" towards the people who are welcome and that it represents an "attack against their home, their place of life and the space that has to become safe for these people". "It is a violation of the right to privacy," they insist, which endorses the discourse of hatred towards these people: "In this situation, from the federation we maintain that we must strengthen the discourse of dialogue and social responsibility in order to give maximum protection to children and teenagers who are vulnerable.

The entrance to the squat is boarded up

This Friday morning the owner of the squat in Mimoses Street has boarded up the entrance and windows "taking advantage of the fact that the squatters are out of town," as reported by the City Council. The council has also "regretted and condemned the violent acts" that took place "after the legitimate demonstration". The City Council has shown "concern about the seriousness of the events" and has launched "an appeal for calm". "To avoid further disturbances, the service of Local Police and Mossos d'Esquadra has been reinforced. Violence and xenophobia cannot be tolerated, and never ever are they the way forward or the solution," the note added.