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€600K fines for Spain's illegal protests: draft bill

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Protestors against Spain's wave of forced home evictions clash with police in Madrid. Photo: Dominique Faget/AFP
11:25 CET+01:00
Unauthorized protesters outside the Spanish Parliament could soon be hit with fines of up to €600,000 ($810,000) while those selling drugs or offering sexual services in front of minors could face a penalty of up to €30,000.

The move is part of a new Citizen Security bill drafted by Spain’s ruling Popular Party (PP) which is likely to be approved in Parliament in the near future.

Social uproar in the form of harassment or insults will result in hefty fines of up to €600,000 if the PP’s parliamentary majority gives the law the green light.

Aside from protesting outside government buildings, other “very serious offences” include publishing images/personal data of policemen online, interrupting public events and carrying out so-called escraches (demonstrations outside the homes and workplaces of political figures).

Offences deemed as “serious” on the new bill include insulting or threatening policemen, offering sexual services close to children’s play areas, possession of illegal drugs (regardless of whether they are for self-consumption), vandalism of public property and open-air drinking sessions known in Spain as botellones.

All these infractions will entail fines of between €1,000 and €30,000.

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“We’re not looking to punish more, just to reduce the discretionary margin of illicit conducts and not stumble upon a judicial limbo for ‘new’ acts like the escraches,” Spain’s Huffington Post reported the Interior Ministry as saying.

Escraches were carried out in Spain for the first time in 2013, notably by the country’s anti-evictions lobby the PAH, who targeted politicians in their homes as part of their protest against the repossession of thousands of homes over the last few years. 

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