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Spain passes new ‘anti-protest’ law

Spain passes new 'anti-protest' law

Spain passed its new controversial Citizen Security Law last week, a law which opponents say will severely limit civil liberties in the country.

The Local.es reports: The unpopular law contains retains existing fines of up to €600,000 ($746,000) for unauthorized protests outside buildings “which provide basic services to the community”, a definition that encompasses everything from hospitals to universities and the Spanish parliament.

The new law, which the government argues will ensure public security, also forbids the photographing or filming of police officers in situations where doing so could put them in danger. This could result in a fine of up to €30,000. Showing a “lack of respect” to those in uniform, meanwhile, could lead to a fine of €600.

The law has been dubbed the ‘ley mordaza’ or ‘gag law’ by opposition groups and the Spanish media, many of whom believe the law will curtail individual rights.

It was passed in the lower house of the Spanish parliament on Thursday, despite all parliamentary groups except for the ruling PP voting against the legislation. It will now be reviewed by the Spanish senate where the PP enjoys an overwhelming majority.

Spain’s major opposition party, the socialist PSOE, vowed to overturn the legislation if they reclaim power in general elections set for late 2015.

The eventual vote was 181 for and 141 against and was met with protests from opposition politicians.

Seven MPs from the left.wing IU party had to be asked twice to take off white gags that they had taped over their mouths to express their clear rejection of the draft law, while members of the Solfónica choir, connected to Spain’s indignant protest movement, burst into a rousing rendition of ‘Do you hear the people sing’ from the musical Les Misérables.