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As protests developed into riots on the streets of Madrid again this month, criticism has been levied towards mainstream media outlets for their largely underplayed coverage, but that same story could be said in a number of hotspots around the world.

One such place of recent escalations in street violence has been Venezuela, for example, where the Plaza de Altamira de Chacao has seen daily demonstrations since February, against the government of Nicolás Maduro, which has resulted in 29 deaths and hundreds injured since the violence began.

However, one thing that is perhaps not realised is the part that Spain is playing in controlling those riots, and others besides, to which amplification in the event of their own failings may prove to be potentially financially devastating.

A recent picture of a stun grenade clearly branded with the details of a Spanish firm surprised many, but this year so far, Spain is exporting 450,000 euro worth of riot equipment to Venezuela, including non-lethal gas grenades, aerosol control sprays and other riot equipment, according to the Spanish government´s own information.

In fact, from January to June of this year, the materials sent from Spain to Venezuela is 2.68 million euro, around half of the entire income of 5.1 million that will be obtained from other exports including to Tunisia, valued at 2.01 million, as well as to Nicaragua, Algeria and Egypt.

However, many more of the contracts are without manufacturing, as many of the deals are for licenses to manufacture the products locally, so Spain benefits from the manufacturing of the items to control riots, without actually having to construct and ship the items.

Other equipment on offer from Spain, under the “Other Defence Equipment” category includes firearms, sights, image enhancement devices, stun grenades, electronic stun guns and equipment for vehicles, including water cannons and gas dispensers.

In 2011, the then government of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero made sales of this equipment to Venezuela worth 145,823 euro, largely for tear gas equipment, but that figure fell considerably short of the 2010 deal, when Venezuela paid 1.62 million for additional equipment for their police vehicles, with additional licensing bringing the figure up to 5.1 million.

The sale of these arms and equipment is strictly controlled, and must only be done where there is a need for crowd control and suppression, but looking at one country alone is indicative of the value of riots and public disorder, albeit at the expense of the repairs needed when the situation becomes out of control on one’s own territory, although those activities too can become a showcase for available equipment.

Filed under: http://www.theleader.info/article/43106/

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