Improved crowd control and security coordination at Holy Week parades and events across the Costa del Sol were generally praised this week for avoiding much of the tension of a year ago over fears of terrorist attacks and stampedes.
However, despite best laid plans, human nature got the better of security forces in a few isolated incidents of false alarms and scares.
On Wednesday of Holy Week in the centre of Malaga, spectators watching the processions near the market were alarmed to see a man “of Arab origin” suddenly race up in a car, park, get out and run down the street. Specially trained police and explosives experts were immediately called out to the scene, only for the alert to be called off when it was revealed that the driver was a patient arriving late for an appointment at his dentist.
On Good Friday, on the main Alameda avenue, also in Malaga, in the midst of a large crowd two men caused alarm when they started shouting out and arguing with each other. Once again, the incident was cleared up swiftly when it was discovered that they were tourists, a father and son from Syria with US passports, who had been arguing over the best way back to their hotel.
In Arroyo de la Miel, worshippers at the church on Bonanza Square on Good Friday were shocked when a man of Senegalese origin burst in on them, shouting phrases against the Catholic Church and the presence of women and children inside. An off-duty police officer in the congregation helped restrain him until reinforcements arrived.