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Barcelona: Sixth night of protests over jailed rapper

Pablo Hasél's sentence for insulting the monarchy and glorifying terrorism in his music has reignited the debate about free speech in Spain

By IQ on 22 Feb 2021

Catalan police on the streets of Barcelona

Catalan police on the streets of Barcelona

image © Twitter/Aranrdz

Barcelona has endured a sixth consecutive night of street protests, following the jailing of Catalan rapper, Pablo Hasél.

Hasél was arrested last Tuesday night (16 February) following a 24-hour stand-off in a university with dozens of supporters to avoid a prison sentence.

The artist, who is known for his radical leftist views, was sentenced to nine months in prison in 2018 under a security law known in Spain as the “gag law” for insulting the Spanish monarchy and praising terrorist violence in his music and on his Twitter account.

The rapper’s imprisonment has set off a major debate about free speech in Spain and sparked ongoing protests in Barcelona.

Last night, protestors in dark clothes marched through the city centre to the National Police headquarters and threw objects including rocks, bottles, rubbish and firecrackers at officers.

According to the police, around a thousand protesters took part in last night’s protest and seven arrests were made.

More than 200 artists have signed a petition against his jail term and calling for the ‘gag law’ to be changed.

Government spokeswoman Maria Jesus Montero said that in response to the Hasel case, the government had “expressed its willingness to provide a much more secure framework for freedom of expression” and that the reform was in its early stages.


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