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Spain reporter detained in police protest breakup

Spain reporter detained in police protest breakup

A Spanish reporter was bloodied and then held overnight in custody as riot police armed with batons clashed with protesters demonstrating in Madrid against the government's economic policies, a journalists' group said Friday.
Gorka Ramos, a reporter for online newspaper lainformacion.com, had been covering the protest when the detention took place, Elsa Gonzalez, president of Spain's Journalists' Federation said.
"They hit me around the waist with a baton," Ramos said on his release after spending around 15 hours in detention. He said that when he had tried to read the officers' badge numbers "they hit me in the face." On the ground he was kicked, causing him a leg injury, Ramos said.
Police released him but were preparing charges, lainformacion.com reported.
"It is outrageous that this should happen in a democratic country, it doesn't make sense when a working journalist identifies himself and offers no resistance," Gonzalez told The Associated Press.
Ramos' news outlet published images of their reporter with blood on his nose and right eye being led away by police in riot gear. Ramos had been carrying identification and was covering the protests live through Twitter, lainformacion.com said.
Police acknowledged Ramos's detention for alleged public disorder.
Television reports showed objects being thrown and officers armed with batons hitting protesters near the Interior Ministry late Thursday, bloodying some of them.
A police spokeswoman said seven police had been injured, and lainformacion.com said 13 protesters had also received treatment for minor injuries.
Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba, former Interior Minister and current ruling Socialist Party candidate for Nov. 20 general elections, said that if protests were held peacefully police would be tolerant.
"But, if there is violence, then the police have to take action and 200 people can't be allowed to turn a city upside down," Rubalcaba said.
"The police are making very grave errors," said Esteban Gonzalez Pons, deputy spokesman for the main opposition Popular Party. "They don't act when they should and when they do act they are overdoing it."
Citizens angry about the government's austerity program during Spain's economic crisis have been demonstrating for four days in Madrid, upset that police are preventing them from re-erecting a protest camp in the central Sol plaza where they had held protests since May.
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Harold Heckle contributed to this report.