Security alert at Torrevieja Three Kings

Security forces on high alert

The traditional Cabalgata or Three Kings parade, took place on the evening of the 5th January to the delight of the waiting children and their families in Torrevieja. As customary, the Kings arrived in the port area to be greeted by large crowds and councillors.

The procession wasn’t perhaps as unusual or controversial as last year with the customary Three Kings’ floats, dancers, smurfs, drummers, and other musicians. There were no participating animals, as was also the case last year. Slightly more unusual were the large white butterflies, dragons and seahorses that were carried by people on stilts.The parade finished a little earlier than usual and perhaps seemed to be shorter than in previous years.

For those who couldn’t attend the actual procession, the Three Kings visited the children’s ward of Torrevieja hospital in the morning of the 5th January accompanied by the mayor, José Manuel Dolón and the councillor for fiestas, Domingo Pérez. They handed out presents to those with no option but to spend the night in hospital.

Security alert

In common with major cities across Spain, police were on extra alert to ensure that any risk of terrorist attack by groups or individuals was prevented. A higher police presence was evident around the procession both with additional police cars and armed police officers bringing up the rear along with the cleaning services.

The police were informed at 6.30pm of the theft of a lorry only two kilometres from the Plaza de la Constitución. The lorry was stolen in the calle La Sal whilst the procession was taking place and entering calle Ramón Gallud. This raised security to high alert following events in Germany and France.

Both the Guardia Civil and the Policía Local were informed of the theft of the Nissan lorry with an old number plate registered in Orense. As a result of the notification, patrol vehicles of the Policía Local positioned themselves at important intersections of roads that led into the town centre.

Fortunately none of the preventative measures needed to be taken. However, the town’s people of Torrevieja will feel reassured that in the event of a threat the police here are organised and ready to take action.   The truck was later found burnt out on the outskirts of Torrevieja, its occupants having fled the scene.

Controversy

This year’s parade didn’t pass completely without controversy, however. It had been announced that instead of throwing the sweets as traditionally happens during the procession, those taking part must pass them out to the waiting children.

For those who have attended the parade before, hurling hard boiled sweets across the crowd has the potential to cause perhaps a minor injury. However, comments from onlookers suggested that they considered this a relatively harmless tradition. By whatever means, children still had their plastic carrier bags full of sweets and most would go home happy to wait and see what other gifts the Three Kings might deliver to their home.

Suzanne O’Connell