Spanish police have arrested a chemistry student suspected of planning to attack anti-pope protesters with "suffocating gases," an official said today. The pontiff is due to arrive tomorrow for a nearly four-day visit to celebrate World Youth Day, and a protest march is scheduled for this evening in Madrid. A police official said the suspect arrested in Madrid yesterday is a 24-year-old Mexican student specializing in organic chemistry; the Mexican Embassy identified him as Jose Perez Bautista.
The police official would not say whether investigators believe the man was actually capable of carrying out a gas attack, and did not know if the man actually had chemicals for an attack. Police seized an external hard-drive and two notebooks with chemical equations that had nothing to do with his studies from his apartment. He had reportedly been making threats over the Internet against people in Spain opposed to the pope's visit, and police who'd been monitoring his online activity ultimately decided to arrest him as the visit approached. (Read more Spain stories.)