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MADRID — Thousands of people demonstrated in a Madrid suburb after a youth from the Dominican Republic stabbed to death a Spaniard, a killing that sparked an outbreak of racial violence.
Many of those who turned out in Villaverde placed flowers next to a picture of the victim, 17-year-old Manu Gonzalez, as local dignitaries stressed the need for “social intervention measures” to avoid a repeat.
After a minute’s silence for Gonzalez, the crowd chanted “assassins,” while one man insisted that “there is nothing racist going on here — we all want to live in peace and security,” pointing to banners bearing the legend “no to violence — yes to coexistence”.
Madrid television reported, however, that the family of the presumed killer appeared to have fled their home apparently fearing reprisals while neighbours spoke of a youngster who “just watched TV and played with his Playstation” prior to the fracas which turned to tragedy on 2 May.
Television reports showed anti-immigrant graffiti, including a swastika, in the stairwells of nearby flats.
Earlier, two anti-racist associations accused the media of “irresponsible” coverage of the incident, which preceded random beatings of Latin American immigrants.
The associations expressed “concern over the events which have been happening in Villaverde and elsewhere in Madrid following the sad death of the young man”.
The organisations blasted the media, saying it had been “imprudent to have stressed the nationality of the person presumed responsible”.
On Saturday, far-right Real Madrid football (soccer) fans added to the frenzy when they brandished the slogans “they are invading us, they are killing us. Justice for Spain, justice for Manu” at the capital’s Bernabeu stadium.
(Posted on May 12, 2005)