Madrid migrants clash with police following street vendor's death

Migrants have clashed with police in central Madrid after thedeath of a Senegalese street vendor

Riot police and firefighters were called t the area after protestors set a motorbike on fire (photo:BBC)
Riot police and firefighters were called t the area after protestors set a motorbike on fire (photo:BBC)

Migrants have clashed with police in central Madrid after the death of a Senegalese street vendor who they say had been chased by police.

Protesters set fire to a motorbike and dustbins and threw stones in the Lavapiés district.

Riot police and firefighters were deployed to the area, a district in the centre of the Spanish capital with a large immigrant population.

The clashes are said to have lasted from 21:00 until 01:30 local time, spreading from street to street. Bus stops and some bank branches were damaged, and dustbins set on fire.

Six people were arrested during the protests, a spokesperson for Madrid Police told Spanish news agency Efe.

Demonstrators said they were protesting in support of Mmame Mbage, a street vendor in his mid-thirties from Senegal, who arrived in Spain by boat 12 years ago.

Mbage was found unconscious on a street in Lavapiés by police on patrol. They were trying to revive him when emergency workers arrived, but he died of cardiac arrest, according to an emergency services spokeswoman.

She did not know what had happened to Mbage before he collapsed, but several other street vendors who were with him said he had been chased by police from Puerta del Sol.

“Municipal police arrived and chased him from Sol to Lavapiés with a motorbike,” said Modou, a 25-year-old vendor from Senegal who refused to give his surname. Others confirmed the account.

Madrid Mayor Manuela Carmena said the city would investigate thoroughly what happened and respond accordingly.

Mbage was one of thousands of migrants who have reached Spain in search of a better life. He worked as an illegal vendor and sent money back to his family.

Spain is the third busiest gateway for migrants coming to Europe, with close to 23,000 arrivals in 2017. Hundreds have died along the way.

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