A migrant-youth shelter in Madrid’s Hortaleza neighbourhood that was reviled by Spain’s ultra-right VOX party in a campaign video in the run-up to the 10th November general election was attacked Wednesday by unknown assailants with a live grenade that failed to explode and was subsequently detonated by police bomb-disposal experts.
The GR-42 rifle-grenade of Russian or Eastern European manufacture was primed with TNT and found in the early morning hours on the premises of the shelter for minor migrants who arrive to Spain unaccompanied by adults.
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Police are said to be investigating whether or not the grenade was left or thrown at the migrant-youth centre by ultra-right sympathizers or by members of the Madrid-area Latino street gang DDP (“Dominicans Don’t Play”).
At a Hortaleza neighbourhood bus stop in early October, two unknown hooded assailants wielding boat oars as weapons attacked two youths who bystanders said had “Arab features”. The next day, a nationalist slogan appeared scrawled behind the bus stop: “We all row together. Viva España.”
On October 30th, a group of some 30 DDP members launched an assault on the shelter, apparently in response to a fist-fight between a member of the gang and a Morroccan youth from the centre.
There are actually two minor-migrant shelters in the Hortaleza neighbourhood, one for 8-14 year old youths and another for those 14-18 years old who arrive to Spain unaccompanied by parents or other adult supervision. Staff at both centres complaint that they are operating well beyond capacity and the high-visibility presence of the migrant youth in the community has heightened tensions with local residents.
Critics charge that anti-immigrant VOX videos aired during the general election campaign, including one that portrays the migrant youths in Hortaleza as delinquents and a menace to the local community, have served to further raise tensions in the area.
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Rocio Monasterios, VOX spokeswoman in the Madrid regional assembly, opened one of the videos saying, “They can’t be allowed to sit there every day on the benches of the neighbourhood, as all the neighbors can see, just waiting to see who’s going to come along that they can rob.”
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