Sanchez Condemns Violence As Pablo Hasél Demonstrations Continue

Both Barcelona And Madrid have endured a fifth night of protests over the imprisonment of Spanish rapper, Pablo Hasél.

Last night´s Madrid demonstration was small by comparison with previous ones – police estimated around 300 people attended and which was peaceful with no arrests made.

Despite the small number on Saturday, the police were out in force, with some 300 officers including anti-riot police on duty to deter the repeat of last week´s demonstration in Sol which saw violence and widespread damage to property and resulted in 19 arrests and 55 injured in clashes that lasted through the night.

Earlier the Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez condemned all forms of violence and said that it had no place in a “full democracy” such as Spain.

The prime minister said that “violence is an attack on democracy. Consequently the Spanish government will confront any kind of violence to ensure people’s safety,’

In addition, Spain’s Interior Minister, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, praised the police, saying they ‘guarantee the rights and freedoms of all society against a minority whose misguided idea of rights makes them have recourse to violence’.

The violence was sparked by the arrest of the rapper who is now serving a nine month prison sentence for insulting the monarchy and “glorification of terrorism” which included tweets praising convicted terrorists as well as composing raps that accused the police of torture and the Spanish Crown of corruption.

In additon he was handed a 25,000 Euro fine for  insults, libel and slander likening former king Juan Carlos I to a “mafia boss” and the present one, Felipe VI as a “parasite.”

Indeed the Spanish royal family has been one of his main targets with one tweet suggesting  “the guillotine” for one of the late king´s daughters and released a song called “Death to the Bourbons,”

However the prosecution, under the infamous “gag laws” that were introduced by the previous Partido Popular government, have been widely seen as unjust and unwieldy.

Indeed hundreds of Spanish artists including film director Pedro Almodóvar, actor Javier Bardem and singer Joan Manuel Serrat, have signed a petition against Hasél’s jailing, calling for the country’s the law to be repealed or changed.

The law expressly prohibits the use of social media as a form of protest and includes sections on showing a “lack of respect” to those in uniform.

The law was used extensively during the pandemic lockdown with nearly 1.1 million people fined under it´s provisions.

Amnesty International released a statement calling for his release stating that ‘no one should be criminally convicted of tweeting or singing something disgusting or scandalous.



Share The Madrid Metropolitan: The only Madrid English language newspaper