• Spain's news in English

Police chief sacked over Madrid demo turned ugly

George Mills/The Local/AFP · 23 Apr 2014, 14:40

Published: 23 Apr 2014 14:40 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Francisco Javier Virseda, head of Madrid's Police Intervention Unit Division 1 is to be sacked for poor management of the demonstration, Spain's Director General of Police Ignacio Cosidó announced.  

Spain will also see a restructuring of its anti-riot command structure in the wake of the incident, Cosidó said during an appearance in parliament to explain the events of March 2nd in which over 100 people were injured including 67 police officers. 

"There was no problem with the planning for the operation but there were errors in the co-ordination and communication as events unfolded," Cosidó said.

This prevented police from receiving the necessary information," he added.  

This meant that some police officers found themselves surrounded and isolated by small groups of violent demonstrators and could not received help from other agents, Spain's top police official explained.

Tens of thousands of people from all over Spain participated in the March 22nd "march for dignity" against the dire state of the economy.

The organizers hired hundreds of buses and at least four trains to transport protesters for the event, while the government deployed around 1,700 police.

The day was largely peaceful but turned ugly after demonstrators dispersed with dozens of youths smashing bank windows and setting fire to rubbish bins. 

Police responded by firing rubber bullets and charging to disperse protesters.

One 23-year-old protester had his left testicle surgically removed after being shot by riot police with a rubber bullet.

Story continues below…

Protesters have accused police 'infiltrators' of instigating the violence while police groups lay the blame at the feet of 'radical elements'.

Several days after the March 22nd demonstration anti-riot police in three Spanish cities protested against the poor organization of the event, calling for the resignation of officials involved in planning.

Don't miss stories about Spain, join us on Facebook and Twitter

George Mills/The Local/AFP (george.mills@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Russia withdraws request to refuel warships in Ceuta
The aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov was due to dock in Ceuta

Russia has withdrawn a request for its aircraft carrier group to be refuelled at the Spanish port of Ceuta, authorities confirmed.

Bulls replace guard dogs at scrap yard in Valencia
Two bulls will be patrolling the scrap yard in eastern Spain. Archive photo: AFP

Guard dogs were not proving enough of a deterrent to thieves at a car breakers yard in eastern Spain so the owner has brought in a pair of fighting bulls.

Two-headed shark born in Spanish laboratory
Scientists are studying the rare find. Photo: IBIMA / University of Malaga

Scientists at the University of Malaga found the embryo of a shark with two heads and just one body.

Spain under pressure to stop refuel of Russian warships
Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov is due to arrive in Ceuta. Photo: Mil Ru / Wikimedia

Spain is facing international pressure to refuse permission for a Russian warship flotilla to refuel in Ceuta en route to continuing airstrikes against the Syrian city of Aleppo.

Most wanted: Fugitive rapist arrested in Tenerife
Mohammed Jahangir Alam was arrested n Tenerife. Photo: Crimestoppers.

Mohammed Jahangir Alam, one of Britain's most wanted fugitives, who fled the country in 2008 after allegedly raping a woman, was found working in Tenerife.

Spain's Rajoy says king has tasked him with forming govt
Photo: AFP

Spain's king on Tuesday tasked Mariano Rajoy with forming a government, taking the acting conservative prime minister a step closer to power again after a 10-month political deadlock.

Two imams arrested in Ibiza resort over 'Isis support'
The men were arrested in the resort of Sant Antoni de Portmany. Photo: Jose A / Flickr

Two Moroccan imams at a mosque on the Spanish resort island of Ibiza were arrested Tuesday on suspicion of backing the Islamic State group and inciting jihad.

Balearic Islands choose to keep summertime forever
The islands will have longer evenings during winter. Photo: AFP

The Balearic Islands want to keep summertime when the rest of Spain turns the clocks back on Sunday.

  Brazilian had 'uncontrollable desire to kill': Spain police
Francois Patrick Nogueira Gouveia has been charged with murdering his uncle, his wife and their two children. Photo: Guardia Civil.

A Brazilian teenager accused of dismembering his uncle and aunt and killing their two young sons in a grisly crime that shocked Spain had an "uncontrollable desire to kill", police said on Monday.

Man rescued from bin after climbing in to find old clothes
Photo: Policía Local Murcia

Police were called after passersby reported hearing a man calling for help from within a rubbish bin in the Vistabella neighbourhood of Murcia, southern Spain.

Analysis & Opinion
Out of the dark: Five years on from Eta ceasefire
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Spanish 'La Mafia' restaurants banned after Italian complaint
Spain's top court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia
Hunt launched for ten most wanted Brit fugitives hiding out in Spain
Napflix: Spaniards launch very boring TV channel for siestas
Madrid parish church faces fine over 'too noisy' bells
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Fury after kids told to bring their own loo roll to school
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
jobs available