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Friday, July 16, 1999 Published at 14:15 GMT 15:15 UK


World: Europe

Anti-immigrant violence flares in Spain

Anti-racist protesters in Barcelona draw attention to the treatment of immigrants

Police in a Spanish town near Barcelona have stepped up security after three nights of violence against North African immigrants.

They have been deployed to guard mosques, shops and community centres in the north-eastern town of Tarrasa that have been attacked by local white residents protesting against immigration.

Hundreds of angry residents took to the streets shouting "Moroccans out" and "No more Moroccans". They attacked shops used by the immigrants and wrecked cars.

The violence started with clashes between Spanish and Moroccan youths earlier this week, and has since escalated with far-right groups joining in the attacks.

Several people have been injured, and one young Moroccan man is in hospital, being treated for stab wounds.

A spokesman for the local Moroccan community - one of the largest immigrant groups in Spain - said they were now very scared and were staying in their homes.

BBC correspondent Daniel Schweimler says such attacks have not been seen in Spain for many years, although illegal immigration has led to increased tension in parts of the country.



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