Protestors took to the streets in Spain last week to protest the new Public Safety law that went into effect on July 1st. June 30th was the last day they could protest in front of government buildings without fear of a huge fine. It was also the last day journalists could cover the protests without risking the same hefty fine. We’re talking huge fines of up to €600,000 for demonstrating in front of key government buildings like the Spanish parliament.
When I read more about the new Public Safety, better known as Spain’s new gag law, it became very apparent why people are calling it a gag law. The new law sounds like something you might expect to see in North Korea. It was hard to believe the nation of Spain would implement some of the restrictions in the law. We’ll look at several of them in a moment. The most concerning is the huge fine for protesting. Equally disturbing are fines for ‘disrespecting’ a police officer and far more for sharing pictures or videos of police. That means anyone who witnesses inappropriate behavior by police or security forces could be fined up to €30,000 for recording it and sharing it online.
Here are just a few of fines outlined in Spain’s Public Safety Law:
- Protest in front of government buildings – up to €600,000
- Disrupting public events – up to €300,000
- Trying to stop an eviction – up to €300,000
- Share photo or video of police – €30,000
- Disrespect a police officer – up to €30,000
- Smoke weed in public – up to €300,000
- Drinking in public – €600
Citizens of Spain have been in effect silenced be the new gag law. While the international media hasn’t picked up on the new law yet I’m sure they will in the days to come. It could very well stop some news organizations from covering public protests in Spain. It will also make citizens think twice before capturing and sharing police violence in that country. The new law poses several human rights issues. I still can’t believe we’re talking about the country of Spain rather than a dictatorship. They are one step closer with the new law.