The regional chief of the Spanish capital, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, has made an official request to the army to fight the coronavirus surge in and around the city after local authorities ordered a partial lockdown of some poorer areas starting on Monday.
Fears of another lockdown prompted protests in the city over the weekend.
“We need help from the army for disinfection,” Diaz Ayuso told reporters after her emergency meeting with Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez about the coronavirus crisis. The army could also strengthen local police and law enforcement, Diaz Ayuso added, while authorities are trying to bring the spread of the virus under control in Spain’s worst-hit region.
She also requested the government set up makeshift hospitals in the capital again, as the previous facilities were decommissioned three months ago after the number of infections fell in Spain and a strict lockdown was lifted.
At the height of the first wave of the epidemic in March and April, the government deployed thousands of troops to help with the anti-coronavirus effort.
Protesters in some poorer areas of Madrid took to the streets on Sunday complaining of discrimination by the authorities, as lockdown measures predominantly apply to lower-income areas with higher immigrant populations. Peaceful protests were held in 12 of the 37 districts affected.