Mass protests greeted a new Spanish public security law that would make it harder for public to rally. Nicknamed the ‘gag law’, the new legislation puts restrictions on journalists reporting on police.
Thousands rallied in the streets of Madrid and other cities on
Tuesday evening against the Citizen Safety law coming into effect
Greenpeace activists started the Tuesday protest by an action
that would be difficult to pull under a new law: they placed a
banner reading “Protesting is a Right” on a construction
crane next to Spain’s lower house of Parliament.
— Occupy Wall Street (@OccupyWallStNYC)
June 30, 2015
“They want all of us to be silent, for no one to
protest,” Juan Sánchez, a 21-year-old student, told the
“With the ‘gag law’ brought into force, the practice of
journalism will be less free,” the Madrid Press Association
said in a statement.
— PODEMOS (@ahorapodemos) June
[The Gag law is a law of vengeance taken against the many
things that renewed Spanish politics after the 15-M]
The legislation was pushed through by the conservative Popular
party that has the majority of the parliament as a response to
mass protests over austerity measures that were frequent in the
country over the last few years.
According to the new law, any “serious disturbance of citizen
security” in front of Congress, the Senate or regional
assemblies will be considered an offence with the fine of up to
The wording of the legislation has been criticized by activists
for being too vague. Unauthorized protests near key
infrastructure, such as transportation hubs and nuclear power
plants, may result in fine of up to €600,000 ($638,000).
The government also believes that the images of police cracking
down on protesters prevent law enforcers from doing their job and
putting them at risk.
The legislation allows fines for “unauthorized use of images” of
police, including live and recorded video. Critics say it would
stifle journalists reporting on police abuses.
The police will also be able to sanction individuals who
“obstruct any authority, public employee or official
corporation in the exercise of administrative or judicial
agreements or resolutions.” This point aims at the
widespread practice of intervening to prevent home evictions.
Many Spaniards have lost their homes being unable to pay rent and
The legislation was approved by the Parliament in March, even
though it was met with discontent from opposition parties, human
rights organizations and other public groups.
“Demonstrations will be freer because they will be protected
from violent elements,” Spanish newspaper El Pais quotes the
claims of the ruling Popular Party (PP).