Pablo Hasél Protests: Clashes in Madrid and Barcelona

MADRID — Largely peaceable protests in a number of Spanish cities descended into chaos and clashes on Wednesday after the police arrested a well-liked rapper, Pablo Hasél, who had barricaded himself inside a college to keep away from a jail sentence on prices that he had glorified terrorism and denigrated the monarchy in tweets and lyrics.

Mr. Hasél, 32, was arrested on Tuesday in his dwelling metropolis of Lleida, in the northeastern area of Catalonia, and the demonstrations opposing his incarceration swelled in measurement Wednesday night time as protesters gathered in Madrid, Barcelona and different cities.

What began with folks chanting for the rapper’s launch turned violent as some protesters hurled bottles and set fires as officers rushed in with batons and fired rubber bullets to disperse the crowds.

The conviction and arrest of Mr. Hasél have set off a nationwide debate over Spanish laws on speech, that are among the most restrictive on language deemed harmful to state establishments.

After Mr. Hasél’s conviction, the nationwide left-wing coalition authorities stated it deliberate to overtake elements of the felony code.

Mr. Hasél’s unique two-year sentence was diminished to 9 months. But the truth that an artist might be imprisoned over the lyrics of a music or feedback on Twitter has galvanized Spain’s creative group.

More than 200 distinguished Spanish writers and artists signed a petition defending Mr. Hasél and warning that Spain’s present regulation was a risk to “all public personalities who dare to openly criticize the actions of state institutions.”

Protests over Mr. Hasél’s arrest started on Tuesday, when 1000’s of individuals took to the streets in Barcelona and different cities in Catalonia to demand his launch.

The demonstrations continued on Wednesday and expanded to Madrid, the capital, and different cities.

The Spanish police detained 19 folks in Madrid and 29 in Catalonia on Wednesday, in response to native information experiences. Protesters had been seen throwing stones and different objects on the police, smashing home windows and setting trash cans on hearth.

Journalists on the scene posted photos and movies on social media exhibiting massive crowds of protesters, lots of them carrying surgical masks, squaring off towards cops in riot gear.

“Pablo, comrade, you are not alone,” one crowd chanted on Wednesday in Lleida.

The authorities in Madrid said on Wednesday that access to a central train station had been restricted as a result of disturbances to “public order.”

Protests continued Thursday when about 300 demonstrators clashed with the police in downtown Barcelona, throwing stones and setting fires. At least six people were detained and two officers injured.

Police officers and mostly young demonstrators also clashed around Puerta del Sol, a main square in Madrid, as some protesters who sought to reach the Parliament building were stopped by the police. Five officers suffered minor injuries in the clashes in Madrid, according to Europa Press, a Spanish news agency.

A Reuters journalist in Barcelona was among those injured when officers fired rubber bullets into a crowd, the news agency reported. Protests also took place in other Spanish cities, including Granada, where four demonstrators were detained, according to local news outlets.

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