London wasn’t the only European city where frustrated denizens took to the streets in anger to protest another round of COVID-19-inspired lockdowns. Madrid saw anti-lockdown protests blossom into full-on riots – as they were described in the Spanish press – as clashes between citizens and police grew increasingly violent.
Last week, the city council imposed new restrictions on more than 1 million inhabitants of Madrid, as they expanded the number of COVID-19 hot spots to 45. Localized restrictions on movement were similar to those imposed during the lockdown in the spring, though not as harsh.
Over the weekend, thousands of Spaniards streamed into the streets of Madrid. Dozens of residents were involved in violent clashes with the police.
Madrid hoy Caravanchel pic.twitter.com/GzCnzoF3mn
— Angela Comanchera (@AComanchera) September 27, 2020
— Álvaro Casares (@comex25) September 24, 2020
Demonstrating that American cops don’t have a monopoly on police brutality, one Spanish cop was filmed headbutting a detained man.
Policía sin número de identificación dando un cabezazo con el casco a un detenido esposado e inmovilizado.
El delegado del Gobierno debe ser cesado inmediatamente.@conJoseMFranco
Lo llaman democracia y NO LO ES. pic.twitter.com/fhgTyr79bL
— Matsi♀️✊ (@Vicky_Taibo) September 25, 2020
Protests weren’t confined to Madrid. They were widespread over the weekend across areas such as Usera, Puente de Vallecas, Villa de Vallecas, Villaverde, Ciudad Lineal, Vicálvaro, San Blas and Carabanchel.
Over one million people are subject to the new localized lockdown restrictions and may only leave their homes for work, medical or educational purposes and only if they carry supporting documents. Poorer and migrant workers who rely on public transit to get to jobs in the construction industry say these measures discriminate against them.
¡Sánchez culpable, Gobierno culpable, Ayuso culpable! Luego vendréis al barrio a haceros foto en campaña.
¡Esto no lo hacéis en el barrio de Salamanca! pic.twitter.com/0OO3SvzaJc
— Vallekas se Defiende (@VKseDefiende) September 24, 2020
Local businesses must operate at 50% capacity and must close before 10pm. Gatherings are limited to no more than six people. The new measures will be reviewed every 2 weeks.
Madrid is presently one of the worst-hit cities in all of Europe, with an infection rate of roughly 1,000 cases per 100,000 residents.