Riots Across Spain


A rioter in Spain

On Tuesday, riots broke out across Spain due to the arrest of rapper Pablo Hasel. Hasel was charged with glorifying terrorism and slandering of the crown, and will be serving a nine-month sentence.


As a result of the rapper’s arrest, the people began rallying up to protest it. The rapper made statements on twitter and in his song lyrics, which got him arrested. Hasel called former King Juan Carlos a thief and mafia boss, and accused the police of torture and impunity. Many view him as a symbol of free speech, which is why his arrest is causing such an outrage. 


There are riots in many cities, such as Catalonia and Barcelona. The riots became violent fast; many buildings were destroyed and vandalized, and banks were looted as well. Protesters threw objects at police and lit fires, causing an overall sense of catastrophe. 


Police in Barcelona and Girona fired rubber bullets at the violent protesters, which resulted in many injuries. Protesters in Barcelona looted banks and broke the windows of a police station, and the police charged at them. Government buildings were vandalized in Lleida, the hometown of the rapper. Around 30 people were injured during these riots and at least 14 were detained.


The Spanish people view this as an attack on their freedom of speech. This can also be seen as the government having a heavy bias towards what speech will be tolerated.


A neo-nazi rally recently took place in Madrid, where around 300 people attended, and no action was taking against it. Speakers at the rally were allowed to make heavily anti-semitic statements with no consequences, but Pablo Hasel was arrested for speaking his mind against the monarchy. 


Spain has a law that makes it illegal to insult the monarchy, but according to the European Court of Human Rights, this contradicts the freedom of expression. Last week, members of Spain’s left-wing coalition said that laws related to crimes of expression will be reviewed.