BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Protesters supporting squatters in Barcelona clashed with police again Tuesday, less than 24 hours after demonstrators set trash containers and vehicles ablaze in confrontations that left at least 15 people injured.
The activists want squatters allowed back inside a vacant bank branch they occupied for years before they were evicted and the latest clash came after they managed to use tools to pry open a small hole in the metal doors sealing the entrance to the bank.
Riot police then moved in, beating back protesters with their batons. The demonstrators, numbering in the hundreds, responded by throwing rocks at police but were driven a few blocks away. No injuries or arrests were immediately reported.
On Monday night, about 500 people marched peacefully in the upscale neighborhood. But a police official said the demonstration turned violent around 10 p.m. when some protesters set garbage containers on fire.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of police policy, said that 14 of those hurt were officers and that the sole demonstrator injured was also arrested. Officers only kept track of injuries reported by ambulances sent to the scene, meaning it was possible that more people sought medical assistance elsewhere for injuries, the official said.
During the first night of mayhem, riot police clashed with demonstrators who burned a trash truck and damaged other vehicles.
Businesses in the neighborhood and at least one store were ransacked during the chaos of the first protest that ended after midnight Tuesday.
The protesters have pledged to hold five consecutive nights of demonstrations in their bid to get the squatters bank into the bank branch, which was being used as a "community center" for the group.
Clendenning reported from Madrid.