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Spain's crisis: Noisy helicopters, silent airports

Tuesday 24 June 2014 - Eye witness

A waiter in Madrid bars police from his restaurant after "indignados" demonstrators sought refuge there. (AFP Photo/Pierre-Philippe Marcou)


AFP Madrid correspondent Katell Abiven has been covering Spain for the past four years, coinciding with an unprecedented slide of the Spanish economy from boom into deep crisis. As she prepares to join AFP’s Latin America team in the Montevideo regional hub, Katell looks back at the Spanish economic collapse.

(AFP Photo/Pierre-Philippe Marcou)

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Sumorrida: The ‘qi’ of bull fighting and sumo

Wednesday 23 October 2013 - Eye witness

The matador espagnol Oliva Soto during a fight in Pamplona, in July 2012 (AFP Photo / Rafa Rivas)

At first glance sumo and bull fighting don’t have much in common. For one thing, nobody dies in the Japanese arenas. There’s not even any blood or, for that matter. But, as AFP's Tokyo bureau chief Jacques Lhuillery finds out, a look beyond the surface finds striking similarities between the two sports.

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Firestorm: A photographer's journey

Monday 2 September 2013 - Behind the image

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Firestorm: A photographer's journey


A gust of wind blasts embers, ash and smoke across a fire break during a wildfire in the northwest of Spain. The photo was taken by Pedro Armestre, an independent photographer who regularly contributes to AFP. He is the only photojournalist in Spain specialising in forest fires and his work over the past 11 years has taken him into the heart of some of the country's most violent blazes.

"Whenever I’m in the middle of a forest fire, it feels like the fire is a wild animal fleeing from a predator. It runs in one direction, then suddenly in another. It feigns movements to avoid the claws of the firefighters," he says.

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A family of survivors -- even the dinosaur

Monday 29 July 2013 - Behind the image

A Venezuelan couple leave a sports hall after recuperating their luggage and a stuffed dinosaur toy. The couple and their two children survived the train crash that killed 78 people on July 24.

A family of survivors -- even the dinosaur


AFP photographer Rafa Rivas took this photo of a young couple clutching a cuddly dinosaur. It’s an everyday-looking image, but behind it is a tale of survival and luck in Spain’s worst rail disaster in 70 years.

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Disaster: when heart and mind collide

Thursday 25 July 2013 - Debriefing

A picture taken on July 24, 2013 shows derailed cars at the site of a train accident near the city of Santiago de Compostela.

Covering a major disaster is a strange test for a journalist. First, there’s the avalanche of tragic details, which can be numbing and exciting at the same time. Then later, at the end of the day, the reality of the story hits. Natalia Sanguino, a reporter in the AFP Madrid bureau, helped cover the July 24 train crash that claimed at least 77 lives. Here she talks about the shift from reporter to citizen.

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Shooting the bull in Pamplona

Thursday 11 July 2013 - Behind the image

The first bull run of the San Fermin Festival, on July 7, 2013, in Pamplona, northern Spain. The festival is a symbol of Spanish culture that attracts thousands of tourists to watch the bull runs despite heavy condemnation from animal rights groups.

Shooting the bull in Pamplona


AFP photographer Pedro Armestre, who has been photographing the San Fermin bull-running festival in Pamplona since 1998, talks here about how he came to photograph this impressive shot of the event. (AFP Photo)

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Class war in Spain's puppet theatres

Monday 6 May 2013 - Eye witness

A puppet show by Puppeteer Marcos Vilela in Madrid's Retiro Park.

Madrid-based correspondent Roland Lloyd Parry has discovered that Spain's unfolding social drama is also being acted out on a much smaller stage, that of Spain's ever-popular itinerant puppet theaters. Parry recently caught a performance in the capital's Retiro Park, and the show - along with the reaction of audiences young and old - clearly echo rising class tensions, he says.  

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Spain chokes in the eurozone

Monday 24 December 2012 - Behind the image

Luxembourg Prime Minister and Eurogroup head Jean-Claude Juncker pretends to strangle Spain Finance Minister Luis De Guindos during a meeting in Brussels on March 12, 2012.
AFP PHOTO/Georges Gobet

Spain chokes in the eurozone


Between now and the end of the year, AFP is highlighting some of the stand-out images from 2012.

In this, the second of the series, Eurogroup head Jean-Claude Juncker appears to choke Spanish Finance Minister Luis De Guindos, providing an apt visual metaphor for the country’s turmoil in the eurozone. Brussels photographer Georges Gobet describes how he got the shot.

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Desperate Straits at Gibraltar

Wednesday 5 December 2012 - Behind the image

An immigrant is helped on board a Spanish emergency services boat off in the frigid waters of the Strait of Gibraltar on December 3, 2012.

AFP PHOTO/Marcos Moreno

Desperate Straits at Gibraltar


Photographer Marcos Moreno regularly heads into the busy Strait of Gibraltar with Spanish rescuers on the lookout for immigrants trying to cross from Africa to Europe. The treacherous stretch proves deadly for many. This week, Moreno captured a desperate rescue as immigrants packed into a rubber dinghy risked everything to avoid being picked up by Moroccan authorities and sent back home.

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A tale of two crises

Tuesday 5 June 2012 - Eye witness

A protester wearing a gas mask poses for a photograph during clashes with riot police in front of the Greek Parliament in Athens on February 12, 2012.

Comparative Crises Analysis has become something of an academic cottage industry in Europe over the last three years, with Greece reigning atop the ranking of economies in distress. But Spain, with even higher unemployment and a banking sector on the edge, is not too far behind, and the question lingers: how do Europe's two most hobbled countries stack up? AFP correspondent Roland Lloyd Parry, based in Mardrid, went to Athens to find out. (AFP Photo/Aris Messinis)

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Eviction notice

Monday 14 May 2012 - Behind the image

Police grab a photojournalist as he and others are evicted during the early hours from Puerta del Sol square in Madrid, on May 13, 2012.







































Eviction notice


Madrid, the night of May 12, and there are some 30,000 protesters on Puerta del Sol Square to mark the first anniversary of “los indignados”, the loosely-knit grassroots group that inspired the global “Occupy” movement.  Hours later, Spanish police are evacuating, by force, some 200 demonstrators who have defied an order to disperse by 22:00. A freelance photographer in their midst, Juan Plaza, tries to resist. Riot police, who probably know him from previous encounters, aggressively subdue him. Seating amid the protesters to cover the event, AFP photographer Pedro Armestre has just enough time to snap this picture before being expelled from the square himself.  Here’s his account of a hot night in the Spanish capital…

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