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Man dies after being beaten for wearing suspenders with colors of Spanish flag

Suspect had previously served time for 2006 attack which left police officer quadriplegic

Rodrigo Lanza, the alleged attacker, in 2014.
Rodrigo Lanza, the alleged attacker, in 2014. EL PAÍS

A 55-year-old man died in Zaragoza on Tuesday night as a result of the beating he received outside a bar last week by a leftist radical who didn’t like the suspenders he was wearing; they were in the colors of the Spanish flag.

The alleged attacker, a 33-year-old member of the Barcelona squatter movement named Rodrigo Lanza, had already served a five-year sentence for assaulting a local police officer in the Catalan capital; that victim has been a quadriplegic since 2006.

Láinez was admitted into Hospital Clínico with severe head damage

This latest assault took place at around 2.30am in the early hours of Friday outside El Tocadiscos, a bar located on Antonio Agustín street, in Zaragoza’s old town district, the local daily Heraldo de Aragón reported.

Víctor Láinez, 55, got into an argument with a group of people inside the bar. He was alone at the time. Witnesses said that the attacker and three other individuals began yelling at Láinez and calling him a “facha,” short for “fascist,” because of the red and yellow stripes on his suspenders.

When Láinez walked out of the bar, two individuals came running after him. Witnesses said that Lanza struck the victim on the head with a metal bar; he and his accomplice then kicked the man several times as he lay unconscious on the ground before running away.

In 2014, sympathizers of the squatter movement filmed a documentary that presented the 2006 attack as a police set-up

Láinez was admitted into Hospital Clínico with severe head damage and four blood clots that left him brain dead. He died on Tuesday after being taken off life support.

On the night of the attack, the National Police launched an investigation that focused on radical left-wing groups in the Aragonese capital. Lanza was arrested late on Monday. His accomplice was held, then released.

Sources familiar with the investigation said that eye witnesses provided a description of Lanza, who was also seen at a different bar where he paid with a credit card.

2006 attack

In February 2008, Lanza was sentenced to four and a half years in prison for assaulting a local police officer in Barcelona who was trying to evict him and other squatters from a local building. The Supreme Court later raised the sentence to five years.

That attack took place on February 4, 2006, when Lanza hurled a stone at the officer, who fell and sustained spinal injuries. The victim, a father of four, is now a quadriplegic.

A biker

Víctor Laínez was born in the Catalan town of Terrassa but had been living in Zaragoza for years. He was a member of the biker group Los Templarios and always rode on his Harley Davidson.

In 2014, sympathizers of the squatter movement filmed a documentary, Ciutat Morta (Dead City), that presented the events as a police set-up, and suggested that the police officer had been hit by a falling flower pot. Lanza himself featured in the film.

After serving his sentence, Lanza, who is a native of Chile, moved to Zaragoza with his partner, the Heraldo reported.

English version by Susana Urra.

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