Madrid Mayhem Rioting for Their Drinks

In Spain, where public drinking is banned in many areas, police spark a violent riot by attempting to clear a Madrid square of drinkers on the country's May 2 holiday.

Take away their right to drink on the streets and the Madrilenians can get mad as hell -- at least if it's in the wee hours of a national holiday that has a tradition of partying. On Wednesday night, May 2 celebrations in Madrid's Malasana district turned violent when young drinkers and police engaged in hours-long street battles, according to the Spanish newspaper El Pais.

The youth violently turned against the police as they attempted to clear Dos de Mayo square of drinkers. Madrid police had to deploy rubber bullets, tear gas and nightsticks to stop the angry crowd. The youth responded by throwing stones and bottles at officials. Wednesday's altercations ended in 65 injuries and 8 arrests, and eyewitnesses said police had attacked indiscriminately. On Tuesday, 20 people were injured in similar protests.

Public drinking is banned in Madrid and it was prohibited in large parts of Spain in 2003 as part of an effort to quell a nation-wide trend in binge drinking.



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