Madrid: Madrid`s metro has opened an investigation into a memo circulated to employees that listed gays, beggars and musicians as problem groups that needed extra vigilance, it said Thursday.
The memo, which was leaked to several media outlets, instructed metro workers to check that members of these groups had a valid ticket and identified stations where staff should be especially vigilant.
"An internal investigation has been opened by management as soon as it became aware of this document," a spokeswoman for Madrid`s metro told AFP.
"It is regrettable and we are going to take a series of measures to identify whoever was responsible. One person has been identified. A disciplinary procedure will be opened."
"It is not an official document. It is an e-mail from an employee which was sent to the company that provides security. We want to know who were the hierarchical superiors who agreed" that it be sent, she added.
The director general of the Madrid metro will on Monday meet with representatives of gay rights groups to "personally apologise".
But the UGT trade union which represents metro employees said the memo was indeed an official document given to security guards who work at the metro.
"These are internal documents sent to security guards to detail the routes they should take and that they ask to see the tickets of musicians, beggars and homosexuals," said UGT spokesman Teodoro Penuelas.
"The security guards strongly opposed the instructions because they should check everyone. And why not nuns and priests?" he added.
Gay rights group COGAM expressed its "surprise and indignation".
The Madrid metro, which opened in 1919, has 300 stations spread over 13 lines that cover nearly 300 kilometres (185 miles).