The last night of violence and fire in the city of Madrid bears many similarities with some of its precedents. Beyond what is evident from the serious altercations, in the protests over the imprisonment of rapper Pablo Hasel – on Wednesday night – and the riots in Lavapiés after the death of the mantero Mamme Mbaye –In 2018– there is a common denominator: the messages of Podemos positions on social networks.
The analogies between what happened in Sol last night and in the case of the young Senegalese are clear. While the National Police received a shower of stones and bottles and urban furniture was razed by a mob of radicals, Pablo Echenique poured more gasoline on the fire. «All my support for the young anti-fascists who are demanding justice and freedom of expression in the streets. Yesterday in Barcelona, today at Puerta del Sol, “said the spokesman for United We Can in Congress. His words have provoked a wave of criticism in opposition parties at all levels, with the demand that the PSOE break its alliance with the populists.
All my support for the young anti-fascists who are demanding justice and freedom of expression in the streets. Yesterday in Barcelona, today at Puerta del Sol.
The violent mutilation of the eye of a protester must be investigated and responsibilities must be decisively clarified
– Pablo Echenique (@PabloEchenique) February 17, 2021
Something very similar happened on March 15, 2018, when the popular neighborhood of Lavapiés was literally the scene of a pitched battle, with fire barricades, clashes and a large part of the locals and businesses on its streets razed to the ground. The riots broke out after the Senegalese community attributed the death of their compatriot to a police chase, a theory that was disproved but fueled by Juan Carlos Wallet and the then mayor of Now Madrid in Cibeles, Rommy Arce. «Here, in Lavapiés, Mmame Mbage, an immigrant persecuted by the police, died tonight. How much unnecessary pain. Isn’t the tragedy of being an immigrant enough? “, Published the founder of Podemos, who was also in the area the next day.
Arce did the same and launched the accusation of “institutional racism” in the middle of the escalation of violence. Far from rectifying, it was reaffirmed after a few hours, when there were new serious incidents in the Nelson Mandela square, after the appearance of the consul of the African country: “Yesterday Lavapiés gave a lesson in democracy demanding justice. He demanded an end to racist and xenophobic migration policies. No more police chases in our neighborhoods. The mayor was charged with incitement to hatred, but the case was shelved.
Lucrecia Pérez, Samba Martine … today Mmame Mbage. The “nobody” victims of institutional xenophobia and of a capitalist system that raises internal and external borders. Mmame’s sin is being black, poor and undocumented. Brother, you will always be in our memory https://t.co/2u41ET5QRH
— Rommy Arce (@rommyarce) March 15, 2018
Both tweets also generated a barrage of reproaches on the part of the PP and Ciudadanos, but the substance of the matter went beyond these messages. Although the young Senegalese died at around 5 p.m., on Calle del Oso, the City Council of the capital, governed by Manuela Carmena, did not give an explanation of what happened until 20 hours later. No one from the Town Hall appeared in all that time to say that the death from a heart attack was fortuitous, although they knew it from 6.30 pm on the same day, after an adviser from the Centro district and the delegate for Health, Safety and Emergencies, Javier Barbero, were notified.
The uproar was such that the PSOE –now Madrid’s investiture partner– joined the PP and Cs to request the removal of Barbero. It was he himself who explained there was no such persecution, although an investigation was advanced to resolve what happened. The conclusion was the same.
The reflection of these behaviors has been seen in the Madrid Assembly, when Podemos and Más Madrid have refused to condemn the acts that occurred hours ago. Ciudadanos sent to all parties the text of a institutional statement condemning the riots, but finally it was not read because there was no unanimous agreement by the groups, as these initiatives demand: United We Can and More Madrid did not support it. From this last formation, they clarified that they have not voted against, but that, having arrived the proposal for a declaration after midnight, they asked to transfer it to next week to be able to bring a consensual text to the plenary, since for today there was no time to debate informs Sara Medialdea.
To these examples, however, we must add episodes such as Surrounding Congress during the inauguration of Mariano Rajoy, in October 2016. Then it was Pablo Iglesias and Irene Montero who were in favor of the violent protest, classified as “healthy” for the now Vice President of the Government, despite the fact that it led to another escalation of altercations and attacks on the Police.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism