Spain arrests 80 in three nights of riots over rapper’s jailing
Protests over the imprisonment of a rapper convicted of insulting the Spanish monarchy and praising terrorist violence were marred by rioting for a third successive night on Thursday.
The plight of Pablo Hasel, who began a nine-month sentence in a north-eastern prison this week, has triggered a heated debate over the limits of free speech in Spain and a political storm over the use of violence by both the rapper’s supporters and the police.
The ruling coalition’s junior partner, the far-left United We Can (Unidas Podemos) party, on Thursday filed a petition for a “total pardon” for Hasel and another rapper, Valtonyc, who fled to Belgium in 2018 to avoid trial on charges of “glorifying” terrorism.
But potentially deepening the tension, court authorities in the north-eastern Catalonia region announced Hasel lost a recent appeal and is looking at an additional prison sentence of 2-1/2 years for obstructing justice and assault in 2017. The sentence can be appealed again before the country’s Supreme Court.
Like the two previous nights, the protests began on Thursday with large gatherings in several cities that were, at first, mostly peaceful.
In Catalonia’s regional capital, Barcelona, hundreds sang songs, rapped and shouted “Pablo Hasel, freedom!” and “Spanish media, manipulators!” at a central square.
Dozens then broke off from the main group to set alight a barricade of trash containers and a construction skip that blocked a main city artery, hurling stones, bottles and other objects at riot police.
There were moments of tension as flames threatened to extend to nearby buildings before firefighters arrived.
In the eastern coastal city of Valencia, police used batons to disperse protesters and arrested at least eight people, according to the Spanish government’s regional delegation.
We know everyone is suffering under the Tories - but the Canary is a vital weapon in our fight back, and we need your support
The Canary Workers’ Co-op knows life is hard. The Tories are waging a class war against us we’re all having to fight. But like trade unions and community organising, truly independent working-class media is a vital weapon in our armoury.
The Canary doesn’t have the budget of the corporate media. In fact, our income is over 1,000 times less than the Guardian’s. What we do have is a radical agenda that disrupts power and amplifies marginalised communities. But we can only do this with our readers’ support.
So please, help us continue to spread messages of resistance and hope. Even the smallest donation would mean the world to us.
Leave a ReplyYou must be logged in to leave a comment.Join the conversation
Please read our comment moderation policy here.