Spain rocked by second night of clashes over coronavirus measures

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Demonstrations against coronavirus restrictions turned into violent clashes between police and protesters in several Spanish cities for a second night on Saturday.

Around 60 people were arrested and about 30 officers injured on Saturday night, El País reported, with clashes erupting in Madrid, Barcelona, Málaga and other cities. On Friday, demonstrations in several cities had similarly descended into violence.

Protesters set bins on fire and damaged shop fronts, according to the newspaper.

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Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez condemned the violence. “Only with responsibility, unity and sacrifice will we be able to defeat the pandemic that is devastating all countries. Violent and irrational behavior by small groups is intolerable,” he tweeted Saturday night.

On Thursday, the Spanish government decided to extend the state of emergency for six months and allowed the country’s regions to impose their own restrictions. As a result, some provinces introduced nighttime curfews and shut restaurants, bars and cultural venues.

Many — including Pablo Iglesias, leader of the leftist Podemos, which governs in a coalition with Sánchez’s Socialists — have blamed the far right for this weekend’s violence.

El País cited Pere Ferrer, head of the regional Catalan police, as saying that “very violent and organized far-right groups” had participated in Friday’s clashes in Barcelona.

On Friday, Spain recorded 25,595 new coronavirus cases.

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