Why Is Spain Trying to Criminalize Peaceful Protest?

Last Wednesday (November 20th), Spain’s government announced a draft proposal of a bill that would penalize many accepted forms of peaceful protest with consequences from fines to prison sentences. Here’s a few of the more drastic measures that would become law if the bill passes:

  • Anyone organizing a protest through Facebook that is not “officially sanctioned” would get you a prison sentence of up to three years, or a fine of $45,000
  • Passive resistance at large gatherings would get you three years in prison
  • Any attempt to disrupt communications or public transport would now be labeled “sabotage” and could land you in prison for anywhere from one to five years

People who have followed Spanish society for the past few years will quickly see that the new proposed rules are all in direct response to protest events in the country over the past few years.

In addition, the proposed bill is also trying to criminalize any kind of protesting in front of public institutions, as well as the popular Latin American strategy of “escraches” (spontaneous protests where people target specific bankers or politicians in their place of work or residence to publicly humiliate them).

Read the full story, including details about the past protests which lead to each specific rule in the proposed bill, here.

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