4.000 MARCHED THROUGH PALMA, 50 HEADED FOR SHIP

MANI CONTRA LA GUERRA

13-02-2003
By Humphrey Carter
FOUR thousand student anti-war protestors marched through Palma yesterday while a splinter group of 50, including the United Left's candidate for Mayor of Palma, Eberhard Grosske, were prevented from marching on the US warship in the Dique del Oeste by the National Police riot squad. Yesterday's student protest marked the start of three days of anti-war marches and events in Palma which culminate on Saturday evening with what is expected to be the biggest anti-war demonstration ever in the Balearics. The student rally, which police claim was only 1.000 strong marched on the central government delegate to the Balearics brandishing anti-war placards and slogans. National Police riot squad members ringed the government offices while five units were deployed to the Dique del Oeste to prevent members of the Balearic Movement for Democracy and Social Globalisation, from entering the port complex and getting near the USS Oscar Austin guided missile destroyer as a National Police helicopter buzzed both protests. Grosske fiercely criticised the police's actions, saying their reaction to the 50-strong protest was “excessive,” accusing the new central government delegate Miguel Ramis of “making the same mistakes as Cirer,” his predecessor. The United Left Party candidate for Mayor of Palma Eberhard Grosske (far left) tried to mount a protest in the Dique del Oeste in front of the US warship but was stopped by the National Police riot squad. Grosske claimed that the heavy police presence at yesterday's protests is an indication of the tense relations between politicians and the Spanish government. Local union leaders said last night that large companies have been urged to encourage and allow their employees to take part in Saturday's protest which Balearic president Francesc Antich confirmed yesterday he is going to attend. Balearic opposition Partido Popular spokesperson, Joan Flaquer, said he respects Antich's decision. “It's one way of fighting in favour of peace,” he said, adding that the PP believe that the best way to avoid war is to have faith and support the international organisations working to find a solution. But while the anti-war movement is preparing for Saturday, so too is the National Police.

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