Violent protest by refugees in Madrid ends peacefully

A violent protest by refugees in the Spanish capital Madrid was ended peacefully by police Wednesday morning after 12 hours of negotiations, the head of the camp where they live, Ignacio Cosido, told reporters.

Some 40 refugees starting rioting Tuesday evening in protest at the conditions at the camp, in the district of Aluche, which is in the south-west of the capital.

They overpowered five employees of the reception centre and barricaded themselves on a rooftop, before shouting out the Spanish words for "freedom" and "dignity" in front of recording cameras and a large police presence.

Police had earlier foiled an attempt by some 50 refugees to break out of the camp, the online version of El Pais daily reported.

Hooded refugees armed with batons had overpowered the five employees as part of the breakout attempt, but nobody was harmed in the incident, El Pais reported.

The rioters are believed to be mostly from North Africa and feared that they were going to be deported back to their countries of origin, the report said.

Refugees are interned in Spain until a decision is made whether to grant them asylum or not. Human rights organizations have criticized the camps for being like prisons.

Other media reports have slammed the hygiene conditions at Aluche and other camps, describing them as "catastrophic."

State-run RTVE said Wednesday that the camp at Aluche had been a "ticking time bomb."

Last update: Wed, 19/10/2016 - 15:27
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