Protesters clash with police across Europe over anger at Covid measures

Violence erupts in Spain, Germany and Italy

epa08790425 Firefighters extinguish containers and other items burned out by protesters trying to cut the Gran Via street in Madrid, central Spain, late 31 November 2020. Riots broke out in several cities in Spain in the the night to 01 November 2020, following protests against the new Government's restrictions, including curfews, to attenuate the curve of coronavirus contagions.  EPA/JAVIER LOPEZ
Powered by automated translation

Protesters in several Spanish cities clashed with security forces for a second night over anger at coronavirus measures.

Looting and vandalism erupted across Spain after authorities imposed a nationwide nightly curfew and travel between regions was strictly limited.

In Madrid, dozens of demonstrators chanting “freedom” set fire to bins and set up makeshift barricades on the city’s main road, the Gran Via, on Saturday.

When police moved in to clear the gathering, they were pelted with stones and flares.

Unrest was prevalent across the north, in Malaga in the south and in Barcelona in the north-east.

Police said 32 people were arrested.

On Sunday, further demonstrations took place as funeral home workers in Madrid staged a 24-hour strike to demand that the city employ more staff in the face of a second wave of the pandemic.

They blared horns and called for Madrid mayor Jose Luis Martinez-Almeida to resign.

The city’s municipal funeral home, which operates 14 cemeteries, two morgues and two crematoriums and employs 478 people, said it needed at least 15 to 20 more staff to handle the surge in Covid-19 cases.

During the height of the pandemic in late March and April, many burials were delayed by five or six days and cremations had to be carried out in cities hundreds of kilometres away because of a lack of capacity.

Madrid ice rink was used as a makeshift morgue for coronavirus victims.

On Friday, Spain’s Health Ministry reported 25,595 new cases, the largest daily increase of the second wave.

Meanwhile, police in Germany were attacked by more than 800 protesters in Frankfurt on Saturday night.

Italy has also been the scene of protests. It is expected to announce new restrictions on Monday that will include a ban on travel between regions, shopping centre closures at the weekend, limits on commercial activity and an earlier nightly curfew.