Spain Postpones EU Housing Ministers’ Meeting

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Spain Postpones EU Housing Ministers’ Meeting
10 October 2006
 

MADRID (AP) - Spain has postponed a meeting of European Union housing ministers scheduled for next week in the northeastern city of Barcelona fearing antiestablishment groups might carry out acts of street violence.

Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba said the meeting, which was to have taken place Oct. 16-17, had been postponed after consultation with Barcelona authorities. Gangs of youths believed to have links to antiestablishment groups went on a rampage in central Barcelona last week.

"In cases of security, it’s better to prevent than have to cure," Rubalcaba told reporters in the town of Sabadell, close to Barcelona.

Authorities feared gangs might go on the rampage again as the ministers’ meeting coincides with the start of campaigning for Catalonia’s regional elections Nov. 1.

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MADRID (Reuters) - Spain said on Tuesday it had put off a summit of EU housing ministers in Barcelona next week, fearing a repeat of violent demonstrations by anarchists who fired homemade bazookas and threw paint at an art museum.

Two anti-capitalist protesters were arrested during last Thursday’s violent demonstration, which originally started as a march by locals against planned changes to a Barcelona square.

Hooded attackers threw paint, stones and flares at Barcelona’s Museum of Contemporary Art, MACBA, in a surprise attack, which local media said was the fourth major act of street violence in Spain’s second city this year.

Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba said he was postponing the ministers’ meeting at the recommendation of the region’s security panel.

"The meeting has been postponed for security reasons. With peoples’ safety, prevention is better than cure," he said.

A European Union spokeswoman added that the summit, which was due to take place on Oct 16-17, could be held at a later date, or in another city.

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