Spanish Firefighters Fight Cops With Literal Fire As Strike Turns Violent

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John Oyewale Contributor
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A video emerged of striking firefighters in northwestern Spain using an improvised flamethrower in a clash with local police on Monday.

The firefighters, numbering about 200, clashed with a phalanx of police officers guarding the Ourense Provincial Council headquarters in the autonomous region of Galicia, La Voz de Galicia reported. Smoke rose from behind the yellow-helmeted firefighters as some sort of flamethrower, suddenly hoisted in the air, spouted flames toward the police officers, the video showed.

The firefighters also reportedly used smoke flares and pelted the administrative building’s façade with paint as they marched under a banner reading “Our struggle is your shame,” according to the outlet. The firefighters’ attempt to tear down a barricade around the building provoked the police to action, per La Voz. A firefighter got injured in the face and was evacuated by ambulance amid thick smoke from the flares and firecrackers, La Voz reported.

The firefighters were protesting against their current working conditions, complaining that their salaries were the lowest in the country, per La Voz de Galicia. The indefinite strike started in June but the protests began Friday, and another is scheduled for the following Friday in the coastal city of A Coruña, about 120 miles north of Ourense, according to Ourense Dixital. (RELATED: Auto Workers Union Just Shut Down Ford’s Biggest And Most Profitable Plant)

Luis Menor, the provincial council president, reportedly met with the firefighters’ spokespersons for thirty minutes and pledged to confer with his colleagues in other councils over the matter, but said that he believed the firefighters’ proposal was extreme and that no date for negotiations was as yet determined, Ourense Dixital reported.

“I condemn this way of mobilizing,” he said, lamenting the damage to the building, per the outlet.

The police also decried the “radical mobilization” of the firefighters as two officers were injured, La Voz de Galicia noted.