A MAN handed himself in to police in Madrid on Thursday evening after he ran over a number of cyclists who were taking part in a demonstration through the streets of the Spanish capital in support of Palestine.
The incident took place during a regular mass cycle ride through the Spanish capital organised by the Bicicrítica collective, and left five people with mild injuries.
While Bicicritica’s cause is usually demands for more public space for bicycles and greener mobility options, on Thursday they had opted to show their support for the Palestinian people in the wake of the outbreak of war with Israel.
In videos posted on social media, the motorist, who was travelling in a grey Seat Leon, is seen to approach a group of the cyclists from behind, knocking them over as he passes. The car then is seen to flee the scene.
Via the Bicicritica channel on the messaging service Telegram, the cyclists gave their version of events, explaining that the motorist had tried to pass them around the San Bernardo roundabout, ‘invading the opposite lane’.
When he did so, he reportedly knocked one of the cyclists over. He then encountered more of the collective on Alberto Aguilera street, where his path was blocked by the cyclists.
“He accelerated and knocked a number of them over, fleeing the scene by hitting a number of other people,” the group members explained in comments reported by Spanish daily El Pais.
The man then reportedly turned himself in to the National Police in the capital, admitting his actions but also claiming that he and his partner, who was also in the car, had first been assaulted by the cyclists. This, he said, was what prompted his actions.
The man tested negative for alcohol and was not arrested by the police. He will, however, be investigated for dangerous driving.
The spokesperson for the leftist Mas Madrid party in Madrid City Hall, Rita Maestre, voiced her support for the cyclists on social media.
“The free bar for the use of cars [in Madrid] has turned into hostility for the cyclist movement,” she wrote on X (formerly Twitter). “We want Madrid to be a city for bikes.”