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Authorities hope to avoid repeat of last week's flash riots against Covid curfews around Spain

Debris from protests in a main shopping street in Logroño, in the Rioja region, last Saturday evening.
Debris from protests in a main shopping street in Logroño, in the Rioja region, last Saturday evening. / EFE
  • Police and officials have said no single group was behind the protests and blame extremists on the left and right and known offenders

Security forces and government officials are waiting to see this weekend if there will be any repeat of the outbreaks of violence in Spanish cities seen last weekend.

Demonstrators were protesting against the extended Covid-19 restrictions and curfews. What started largely as peaceful protests in some cities turned into violent outbursts. Damage included vandalism, looting and the destruction of street furniture and rubbish containers. In some places the violence appeared to be spontaneous, fuelled by social media messages.

Police said that there was no single group behind the rioting, blaming both left and right-wing extremists and known offenders. Most were young people, with many underage, they said. Cities affected included Barcelona, Madrid, Logroño (Rioja), Burgos (Castilla-León), as well as Malaga.

Last Saturday night, the violent protests took police by surprise in Madrid. Protesters rallied behind the message, "Were going on to the street. We're tired". There were 33 arrests and 12 injured, as well as damage worth hundreds of thousands of euros. The cost of replacing broken glass in shopfronts along the main Gran Vía avenue alone was estimated at 70,000 euros.

In Barcelona, the violence there broke out on Friday night. Fourteen people were arrested and thirty were injured, mostly police.

Phone video footage showed a crowd of youngsters breaking into a Decathlon sports store and a Foot Locker shoe shop in the city before taking stock from inside.

One person was arrested the next day for putting a bike that had allegedly been stolen up for sale on web platform Wallapop.