EIGHT people have been arrested and 17 hospitalised after a series of panic-driven stampedes threw Sevilla’s Semana Santa celebrations into disarray.
The chaos on the night known as the Madruga, on which the most important of the city’s Holy Week processions take place, began at ten past four this morning (Friday 14) and continued for almost two hours.
Over 100 revellers were treated for minor cuts and bruises, and one remains in intensive care after suffering a severe head trauma.
A statement by Sevilla council said that there were three initial stampedes, but these led to a “domino effect” fired by hysteria and rumours.
The first arrests were made after three men, one a known criminal, were spotted using metal bars to make banging noises close to where the pandemonium broke out.
Two hours later, four others were detained after police received a tip-off that they were whipping up fear by chanting pro-terrorist slogans.
A Senagalese man was also arrested but later released without charge after being cleared of suspicion.
Ricardo Gil-Toresano, the national government’s sub-delegate in Sevilla, has confirmed that none of those arrested has any links with known terror organisations and described their behaviour as “absurd.”
The drama is the latest to befall this year's Semana Santa festivities in Andalucia, following a similar incident during a procession in Malaga last week.