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Spain backtracks on €600,000 protest fines

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Insulting or threatening policemen will no longer be deemed a 'serious' offense which incurs fines of up to €30,000. Photo: Cesar Rangel/AFP
11:26 CET+01:00
Spain has bowed to public pressure by downscaling proposed tough new security laws which would have seen unauthorized protests outside the country's parliament hit with fines of up to €600,000 ($814,000).

Spain's ruling Popular Party has backtracked on its plans to impose the heavy fines on some of the clauses it deemed 'very serious' and 'serious' in its draft Citizen Security bill.

The controversial decision to punish protesters carrying out unauthorized demos outside government buildings like the Spanish Parliament will now entail €30,000 fines rather than €600,000.

"Only those behaving violently should be fearful," said Spain's Interior Minister Jorge Fernández Díaz on Wednesday in reference to the clauses involving street protests.

Spain’s ruling Popular Party (PP) has only given some leeway to street protests for which they haven’t been given prior notice.

Disorderly behaviour at public, sporting and religious events, as well as at 'critical locations' like nuclear plants - will still bring about the €600,000 penalties for offenders.

So will carrying out 'coersive' protests in the lead up to government elections.

In total, the PP has dropped the number of 'very serious' offenses from 21 down to 6 as part of the newly rehashed draft bill it announced on Wednesday, Spain's El País reported.

‘Serious’ offenses incurring €30,000 penalties now make up the majority of the draft Citizen Security bill, although insulting or threatening policemen will now be considered a minor infraction.

Check out The Local’s list of Ten new draft laws that are shocking Spaniards.

"This is just a makeover of their initial draft bill," left-wing Izquierda Unida deputy Ricardo Sixto told The Local.

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"They want to give the impression they're backtracking on their controversial draft laws because the general public has been so opposed, but their objective is still the same.

"The Popular Party wants to silence Spaniards who are speaking out against spending cuts and breaches of social and labour rights," the Valencia deputy and spokesperson on Interior Affairs added.

"Izquierda Unida will do all it can to stop this bill from being passed in Parliament."

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