Spain to spend big on riot gear to quash demos

Spain's Interior Ministry has agreed to pay €1.1 million ($1.42 million) for policemen's antiriot gear as a wave of protests led by the country’s disenfranchised population is likely to spread across large parts of its territory this autumn.

Six contracts have been signed this summer by the ministry headed by Jorge Fernández Díaz, including the purchase of shields, smoke cans, riot vans with water cannons, bulletproof vests and helmets.

The country’s National Police will use the gear when confronting protesters calling for a variety of political and social changes in Spain, ranging from the ruling Popular Party’s controversial abortion draft bill to oil drilling off the coast of the Canary Islands and last but by no means least the “illegal” referendum on independence for Catalonia.

Social activist group Coordinadora 25-S, which has its roots in the 15-M movement that saw tens of thousands of Spaniards take to the streets in 2011 to call for “Real Democracy NOW”, has labelled the upcoming event as “the autumn of unconstitutionality”.

The group has announced it plans to carry out protests against Spain’s new monarch King Felipe VI, education cuts carried out by the current government and other social demos falling under the category of “Marches for Dignity”, online daily 20 minutos reported.

Last year, Madrid beat Berlin as Europe’s ‘protest capital’ with a massive 1,628 street demos in the first four months of 2013.

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