Good Friday Parade Disrupted By Allah Akbar Rampage

From Daily-Mail:
Yobs accused of starting stampedes at a Good Friday procession sparked panic among people by shouting 'Allah is Great', it emerged today.

Eight people were arrested over the incidents in the Spanish city of Seville which left 17 people needing hospital treatment.

Local authorities said at least two of the people arrested shouted out 'Ala es grande' - 'Allah is Great' in English - and others slogans in support of Basque terrorist organisation ETA.

Eight people are still in hospital, including a 60-year-old man who suffered head injuries. His condition was described as serious.

Around 100 people required medical treatment, mostly at the scene.

Seven locals aged between 19 and 47 were held along with a Senegalese national. Some have been described as well-known criminals.

Emergency services stressed that the eight people arrested are not of Arabic origin.

And police have ruled out any link between the suspects and terrorist groups and say they tried to cause problems in acts of 'pure vandalism'.

Three of the suspects - caught carrying metal bars which they are believed to have used to bang against street furniture to cause the chaos - have been remanded in prison after appearing before a judge in a private court hearing.

The trio, aged in their forties, have been described as career criminals.

The other five suspects have been released on bail pending an ongoing investigation.

Ricardo Gil-Toresano, a central government spokesman for Spain's Andalucia region, said two of the suspects had shouted: 'Allah is Great.'

He said: 'They're not going to do away with Easter however much they insist on games like these.

'The full weight of the law should come down on them. Today is a sad day.'

Police are analysing social media for any evidence the suspects, who were arrested at different times in the early hours of yesterday morning/Friday morning, coordinated their actions.

A video on Twitter showed the disturbing scenes as people ran for safety.  

It is believed there could have been four different incidents which somehow led to mass panic and a stampede in which people were knocked to the ground and trodden on. A similar incident
happened in the year 2000.

The incident in Seville follows a similar scare in Marbella where a fight is believed to have led to a terrorist scare during the religious celebrations.

Holy Week in Seville attracts hundreds of thousands of people, including tourists from around the world.

The Easter processions began at midnight but the disturbances first broke out near a bridge at around 4am today.

Police believe it could have been an orchestrated attempt to maliciously provoke a stampede.

As in the Marbella incident, many people thought it was a terrorist attack with a lorry aiming at the crowds which was not the case.

However, the rumours, together with shouting, public disorder and threats, caused the crowd to run away and create a major problem for organisers who tried to calm the situation.

One witness told Spanish newspaper El Mundo: 'Everything started with a very loud noise, it's the same thing that happened in 2000. It's as if many animals were on a stampede. One side to another without a fixed course. Some ran in one direction and others in the opposite. '

Another said: 'It was like an earthquake.'

A police spokesman last night said they were looking at images of the parade but at this stage felt there was no connection between the 'isolated' four incidents.

'It is believed to be hooliganism and vandalism,' said a spokesman.

The National Police have asked spectators who took videos on their phones to hand them in as evidence, with anonymity guaranteed.

A number of musical groups were unable to continue in the parade because of injuries received and damages to their instruments.

Yesterday morning, the Seville emergency services issued a statement which said: 'From the outset, the police and health care system focused on trying to spread calm and control the situation while trying to identify the causes of what happened,' they said.

'The investigations are still open and during the morning four police raids have been carried out with a total of eight people arrested who will be brought to justice for public disorder.

These are isolated facts and without apparent connection and correspond with cases of vandalism and hooliganism.'

'Three of the detainees who were shouting and beating are common criminals. One of them has had 36 arrests.

'It is believed the isolated incidents caused a domino effect and caused panic in various parts of the city. Data is now being collected from the various health services in order to be able to report the number of people affected.'

The local council has praised the emergency services for its good work during the night in bringing calm back to the city and avoiding a tragedy.

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