by Staff Reporter
THE Majorcan Socialist Party (PSM) yesterday called for the resignation of Palma's Mayor Catalina Cirer, while the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) called for a reprimand in the wake of the disturbances which occurred during the annual pilgrimage from Plaza Cort to the Monasterio de la Real on Thursday night.

Some 1'500 people, with Cirer and Balearic minister of the interior José María Rodriguez at their head, set off from Cort, but on arriving at the junction of the Cami dels Reis, they found the road blocked by some 800 demonstrators, protesting at plans to build a national health hospital at Son Espases, close to the monastery.

The demonstration got out of hand and there were ugly scenes as police officers tried to open a path for the walkers to get through to the monastery.
One of the policemen was hit on the head with a bottle, and there were various scuffles as the police, some in riot gear, tried to move the demonstrators out of the way.

The PSM has called for Cirer's resignation, claiming that she provoked the incident, considered the most serious to have happened in Palma in recent years.

A PSM spokesman said that “Cirer knew that she should not have gone to La Real, and that she wouldn't be welcomed by the organisers of the fiesta, held at the monastery every year and who had even turned down a council subsidy.” He said that the government representative in the Balearics, Ramon Socías, would also be asked to explain “the aggressive and out of control attitude” shown, in the party's opinion, by the National Police.

The PSOE condemned the violence, but said that Cirer knew what to expect and should not have gone, describing her presence as “an unnecessary provocation.” Cirer and her conservative councillors issued a statement rejecting “the violent, anti-democratic and radical attitude of a group of people, many of whom had no connection with La Real, who were used to attack the Mayor and her team.” The statement also said that the council backed the Balearic government's decision to build the new hospital at Son Espases and thanked the police who “protected a group of Palma citizens who walked peacefully to the monastery.” The Save La Real committee, who organised the demo, said yesterday that the council has shown “a serious lack of respect and a clear abuse of authority” in going to La Real, accompanied by armed police officers.

It added that the council had shown complete lack of common sense.


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