News 22 February 2021

Protests in Barcelona continue after rapper is jailed for tweets & lyrics that insulted the Spanish monarchy

22 February 2021

Barcelona has suffered its sixth night of violent protests as demonstrators contest the arrest of rapper Pablo Hasel.

Pablo was arrested by anti-riot police last week and was given a nine month sentence for insulting the Spanish monarchy and allegedly “praising terrorist violence” in both his lyrics and on Twitter.

Pablo has been convicted of libel and slander according to a statement by the Supreme Court.

As he was taken away by officers, Pablo said, “You will never defeat us! You will never overcome us, we will resist until we are victorious.”

The protesters have taken to the streets to demand that the human right of freedom of speech be exercised.

The Spanish government did announce last week that prison terms for freedom of expression offences would be removed but no date confirmation on this was given.

Protests started peacefully but demonstrators grew frustrated and scenes show rocks, bottles and firecrackers being thrown at police officers.

Shops in Barcelona’s city centre were looted over the weekend and more than 100 people have been arrested.

The mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau said, “Defending the freedom of expression doesn’t justify in any case the destruction of property, frightening our fellow citizens, and hurting businesses already hurt by the crisis caused by the pandemic.”

The protests have spread from Barcelona to across Spain – with smaller demonstrations taking place in Sabadell and Madrid.

An Amnesty International petition which calls for the crime of insulting the crown to be removed from the penal crown has over 100,000 signatures.

In more news, the Coronavirus Vaccine is set to be offered to every adult in the UK by July.