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Thursday 12 January 2017

Being vigilant

Throughout Spain on 6 January there are parades for the Three Kings (Balthasar of Arabia, Melchior of Persia, and Gaspar of India).  This year was no exception for the main local town of Torrevieja. The three kings traditionally hand out sweets to the children.

The previous day, the three kings visited the children’s ward of the hospital and handed out presents.

This year, however, across Spain there was extra police presence.

At 6:30pm the Torrevieja police were informed of the theft of a Nissan lorry with an old number plate registered outside the area; it was stolen 2km from the town centre where the parade was held.

In rapid response, both the Guardia Civil and the local police positioned patrol vehicles at strategic intersections that accessed the town centre. Often, we’ve seen Guardia Civil with caltrops and machine pistols by the roadside, as if waiting for some miscreant. Drug smugglers are caught regularly. As are suspected terrorists.

The lorry was later found burned out on the outskirts of the town. At some point the lorry had swerved off the road, driven into a gully and hit the perimeter wall of an urbanisation. A few witnesses saw the accident at 2am; two young people left the vehicle and ran off after setting fire to the cab.

It’s highly likely that the lorry was stolen by joy-riders – who could have still caused injury or death. It’s heartening to realise that the forces of law here are organised and ready for action, and willing to think the unthinkable. Here, at least, lessons seem to have been learned from the atrocities of Nice and Berlin.

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