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Tuesday, 8 February, 2000, 15:56 GMT
Spanish media blame police

violence en El Ejido The violence began over the weekend

Spanish media have been quick to criticise the local security forces for their handling of the racist violence in El Ejido.

"The forces of law and order took too long to intervene, El Pais said.

"The inhibition which they showed in this instance points to the lack of professionalism among officers or a lack of willingness to intervene in defence of the victims," it said.

The newspaper said the authorities should look into the conditions in which the immigrants live, describing what it said was "social ghetto-isation and apartheid" in schools.

"The other"

"We don't have to refer to Austria to reflect on resentment towards 'the other'. It is enough to look at El Ejido to see the face of anger towards that which is different," the editorial went on.

El Mundo echoed the criticism of the handling of the violence.

"If the police see crimes being committed they have an obligation to detain those carrying them out. It's not a matter of opinion, it is the law," the paper said.

car in El Ejido Security forces were criticised for their handling of the violence
"If [the local authority] had ordered the detention of the ringleaders on Saturday, it is more likely that the perpetrators would not have continued their actions on Sunday and Monday with so much impudence," the editorial said.

And it attacked political parties for trying to make mileage out of the violence, saying their eyes were fixed on the elections due on 12 March.

ABC was less harsh in its judgment of the security forces, saying that while they had to comply strictly with their obligations, the situation was a "national disgrace" with ramifications for the whole country.

"Spanish society is facing an immigration phenomenon which may become enormous in the immediate future and which needs to be handled with a deep sense of humanity and democracy and with an adequate legal framework," it said.

Minister plea

Interior Minister Jaime Mayor Oreja expressed a similar sentiment when he spoke of a need for "calm, serenity and tranquillity".

"Xenophobic actions ... are a crass mistake," he said on Spanish TV.

"There is no justification at this time for their trying to apply the law of the jungle, and in that respect feelings of revenge are unnecessary in this society."

BBC Monitoring (, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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See also:
03 Oct 99 |  Europe
Spain seeks million foreign workers
16 Jul 99 |  Europe
Anti-immigrant violence flares in Spain
27 Sep 99 |  Africa
Morocco: The great return
04 Oct 99 |  Europe
Call for EU immigration clampdown
08 Feb 00 |  Europe
Spain struggles with anti-immigrant riots
08 Feb 00 |  Europe
Mutual fears behind Spain's race riots

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