Thursday, October 18, 2007


Dozens of people were injured on Thursday when residents of a Madrid shantytown fought Spanish riot police with stones and sticks to try to stop bulldozers destroying homes authorities say are illegal.

Reuters says police fired plastic bullets and teargas at stone throwers, some of them women and children, and led baton charges at protesters in the Canada Real shantytown, home to around 30,000 people, many of whom are immigrants from Morocco and Romania.

"They are animals," shouted an elderly man at police as television cameras filmed the destruction of a brick home

El PaĆ­s says the 27 injured are 23 police officers and four civilians, with the residents using stones, gas bottles and other objects to keep the police out of the Canada Real Galiana settlement, located some 30 minutes southeast of Madrid's city center.

The injured civilians include a three month pregnant woman. Her family is one of those evicted already. Her husband, whose home has now been demolished, was one of the nine people taken into custody after Thursday’s altercations.

Local authorities knocked down over 25 homes on Oct. 9 in Canada Real, many built with old doors and windows. Residents said houses were levelled with their possessions still in them.

Dozens more homes have been targeted for destruction.

The police were acting on a court order to clear several shanties, a spokeswoman for the housing department of Madrid's town hall said. She said the city has been looking to clear the city of shanty settlements and house their occupants elsewhere for several years.

The following is from Radio Netherlands.

Spanish slum dwellers clash with police

Madrid - Inhabitants of an illegal slum near Madrid have clashed with police during an attempted demolition. The inhabitants, who were trying to stop bulldozers from destroying their homes, threw stones at the police, who responded with tear gas and plastic bullets. Many people were wounded.

The Canada Real district, which consists of dwellings improvised mainly from discarded building materials, is currently home to approximately 30,000 people. These are mainly immigrants from Morocco and Romania. The district's population has expanded enormously in recent years, chiefly as a result of the massive influx of immigrants into Spain.

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