Thousands of people attended the funeral on Saturday (15 December) of emilio Martinez Menendez -- one of the students shot by Spanish police during a trade union demonstration last week in Madrid.
Thousands of people attended the funeral on Saturday (15 December) of emilio Martinez Menendez -- one of the students shot by Spanish police during a trade union demonstration last week in Madrid. The killings followed several days of violent demonstrations, called to protest new government legislation which will affect students and workers.
SYNOPSIS: On the eve of Menendez's funeral, the Madrid civil governor temporarily banned demonstrations in the Spanish capital, as riot squads had clashed with students protesting against the killings of the two student demonstrators. But Menendez's funeral attracted an estimated ten thousand mourners, who turned the procession into a reminder of the week's events in Madrid.
Menendez was twenty years old. The other student who was killed was twenty-three year old Jose Luis Montanes Gil.
Witnesses said the week's events had culminated in violent clashes between police and groups of demonstrators. They described them as among the bloodiest in Madrid since the death of President Francisco Franco, four year ago.
Clashes started on Thursday (13 December) when fifteen thousand students protested against government plans to raise university entrance fees and to tighten entry qualifications. Students claim the proposals discriminate against working class children. On Friday (14 December) more than a hundred thousand workers protest against a new proposed labour relations law. An official statement said the two students were killed when several hundred people tried to join the trade union demonstration and were repulsed by union stewards. Interior Minister Antionio Ibanez Freire said the killings occurred after police were attacked with stones, from bars, sticks and knives.
Student organisations and leftist parties called for another demonstration on Saturday night (15 December) to protest the shootings. The civil governor banned the proposed marches, saying police had evidence that violent groups planned to disrupt them. Menendez's funeral, attended by thousands of students, ended without violence.