Eighteen injured as Spanish protesters clash with police
Jun 9, 2011, 16:23 GMT
Valencia, Spain - Eighteen people were injured and five arrested Thursday in the eastern Spanish city of Valencia when police clashed with demonstrators belonging to a nationwide protest movement.
Those injured included eight police officers, according to figures given by officials.
Dozens of demonstrators had spent the night in front of the Valencia regional parliament as new legislators were due to take office following the May 22 regional elections.
The demonstrators were protesting at the presence of legislators facing corruption charges, including regional premier Francisco Camps.
Hundreds more joined the rally, forcing police to establish a security corridor to allow lawmakers to enter parliament.
Some of the demonstrators tried to break through the security cordon, prompting police to use batons to disperse them, witnesses said.
Representatives of the protest movement denied accusations by police that the protesters had thrown objects and even attacked police officers with scissors.
In Madrid, about 2,000 people protested overnight in front of the regional parliament.
The protest movement, known as M-15 (May 15) or The Indignant Ones, was launched a week before the elections last month by young activists demanding a reform of Spain's democratic system.
It has mobilized protesters around the country, who have occupied central squares in more than 50 towns and cities.
The main protest camp at Madrid's Puerta del Sol square is due to be dismantled on Sunday, while the M-15 movement is reorienting itself towards neighbourhood assemblies and protest marches.
The movement charges that Spain's democracy serves financial markets and politicians' vested interests, while citizens suffer 20 per cent unemployment.