Spanish Police Clash With Protesting Workers

Monday, December 06, 1999
About 30 people were injured last Tuesday when Spanish police used rubber bullets and smoke grenades to disperse protesting shipworkers in the southern city of Seville, authorities said. Around 700 workers took part in the protest at the Astilleros Sevilla shipbuilding yard on the Guadalquivir River to demand subsidies for the industry, despite European Union directives against such aid. Unions blamed the police for the violence. "The police were not interested in any mediation, they simply set about clearing the area using disproportionate force," said Ignacio Sanchez, a union representative at the shipyard. Workers armed with pieces of metal fought with police and set two cars ablaze as burning barricades. More than two dozen workers and at least four police officers were injured in the clashes, but no one was seriously hurt, officials said. There were no arrests. Shipyard workers throughout Spain have been protesting in recent weeks in an attempt to secure subsidies from the Spanish government amid fierce competition from shipyards in South Korea. However, the European Union prohibits financial aid. "Violence like this doesn't help," said Jose Torres Hurtado, the national government's delegate in the region of Andalusia.

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