Wednesday, 7 September 2011

In my earlier posts about the immigrant riots in Mallorca, I mentioned the leader of one of the local neighbourhood associations, Ginés Quiñonero. What I didn't know at the time is that he had been head of the Spanish Communist party in the 1960s! This was during the Franco dictatorship, not known for its fastidiousness about human rights, so you had to be pretty hardcore to be a Communist back then! Now, it seems, he's given up all thoughts of universal brotherhood and just wants to live in peace. His blog is here.
"It has been a lesson in savagery" and a "terrible Nigerian uprising," says the former politician Ginés Quiñonero, president of one of the neighbors' associations. Previously a left-winger, Quiñonero has turned populist. He is the local negotiator of Palma Mayor Mateo Isern of the Popular Party, who has demanded "law, order and more police." Isern wants "a strong police, unrelenting with the criminals; so it is they who feel hounded and not the citizens."

Quiñonero is battling for the closure of "conflictive" premises and the expulsion of illegal immigrants. And he is calling upon his mayor to follow the tough immigration policies of Badalona Mayor Xavier García Albiol.

Note that this mayor has just been charged with incitement to hatred thanks to a pamphlet he issued linking rising crime rates to the presence of Romanians in his town.
In the second-half of the 20th century the area was a shining example of integration between immigrants and Mallorcans, but that changed a decade ago and it started to resemble certain Parisian housing projects. Now in this suburb just 1,500 meters from the beach there are blocks where Africans dominate and the shop fronts and city services are rundown and forgotten.

And the disruptive Quiñonero is starting to resemble a radical from one of those French neighborhoods. Secret leader of the Spanish Communist Party in the 1960s, tortured and imprisoned by the dictatorship, he was a Palma councilor for eight years under the Socialists. Now he makes extremist announcements, reviles the left and is shown on his blog with a bust of a Roman tribune. He cries out against "all that uncontrolled and rebellious African immigration that chokes and upsets us."

A local shop owner offers an interesting multicultural perspective in which different groups of immigrants have enriched the area with their varied economic skillsets.
"There is a collision," sums up a local shop owner. "The Gypsies arrived first and some made a living from drugs. Later the Africans arrived, who dealt and controlled prostitution. It will all calm down. It just needs more of a clean-up and more security."

It's worth noting that this article presents an alternative account of the incident, and presents it moreover as if it was fact.
The spark for the fatal event had been a 43 eurodebt for a few grams of marijuana and an unpaid cellphone. The victim fled to a rooftop after being harassed by two drug dealers and fell to his death.

Nothing I've read elsewhere in the Spanish press backs this up. As far as I know, the police continue to maintain that the dead man fell to his death by accident while trying to burgle one of the homes in the building. Nigerians claim the police are lying and at least one NGO is backing them up.

Source: El Pais


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