• Spain's news in English

Amnesty International slams Spain on protests

The Local · 24 Apr 2014, 16:38

Published: 24 Apr 2014 16:38 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

"Two people pushed me against a wall and threw me to the ground. They dragged me aside and identified themselves as police.

"They told me I had been arrested because I had tried to attack an official from the health ministry."

This is how the Amnesty International report into the threat to Spain's protesters begins.

The testimony is from a 35-year-old nursing assistant from Madrid, identified in the report as Jorge.

Fortunately for him, the incident in question was being filmed by national broadcaster TVE .That footage showed police had trumped up the charges against Jorge and the case was thrown out in court.

"If it hadn't been for the images, I would have serious problems...the police know that they can falsely accuse you and lock you up for a whole day with nobody being responsible," he explained.

Jorge's case is just one of 30 used to illustrate what Amnesty International decries as a growing government crackdown on peaceful protests in Spain.

Based on interviews with "victims" of police violence, lawyers and journalists, it is damning of the policies of law enforcement.

"We have found clear indications that the sanctions imposed on people for taking part in protests is discouraging people from participating in public protests," the authors of the 93-page report say.

Some protesters have been fined on numerous occasions "to the point where they have accumulated debts", Amnesty argues.

The group also highlights "violations of human rights committed by members of the security forces" in Spain.

Among these is the case of Ester Quintana who was blinded in her left eye at a protest in Barcelona during a general strike in 2012 after she says she was struck by a rubber ball fired by police.

In their report Amnesty International also take aim at Spain's draft Citizen Security Law which imposes sanctions including fines of up to €30,000 ($41,000) for protesting outside the country's parliament without permission.

The new Amnesty International report comes just day after Spain's Spain's Director General of Police announced the head of the anti-riot squad involved a March demonstration in Madrid which turned violent would be removed from his post.

Story continues below…

Tens of thousands of people from all over Spain participated in the March 22nd "march for dignity" against the dire state of the economy.

But a peaceful day turned violent after demonstrators dispersed with dozens of youths smashing bank windows and setting fire to rubbish bins. 

Police responded by firing rubber bullets and charging to disperse protesters.

One 23-year-old protester had his left testicle surgically removed after being shot by riot police with a rubber bullet.

The Local (news@thelocal.es)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Spain's 'Napflix' aims to bore viewers to sleep
Photo: Screengrab/ Napflix

A Spanish video platform called Napflix, designed to put people to sleep with dull content, was launched this week and its founders are on the lookout for more "monotony and repetition."

Recipe: How to make fabada - traditional Asturian bean stew
Photo: Flavio Lorenzo Sánchez/Flickr

The hearty Asturian dish is a perfect lunch on a cold day... and don't forget the crusty bread and cider!

Brit 'paedo' held on Costa del Sol after Most Wanted appeal

One of Britain's most wanted fugitives was arrested on the Costa Del Sol following a tip-off from an expat just hours after his face appeared on a public appeal.

Spain's parliament approves deficit reduction measures
Photo: Images Money/Flickr

Spanish lawmakers approved on Thursday measures to reduce the public deficit and keep it under the target agreed with the European Union.

'Cubism and War' show opens at Barcelona Picasso Museum
Pablo Picasso Harlequin and Woman with a Necklace. Photo: MP

Barcelona's Picasso Museum unveiled an exhibition on "Cubism and War" on Thursday depicting how one of the most influential artistic styles of the 20th century survived the First World War.

Why this bionic limb pioneer doesn't believe in disability
Hugh Herr has been award Spain's top science prize. Photo: FPA

The Local speaks to Hugh Herr on winning Spain's top science prize and how being an amputee doesn't make him disabled.

Dine in the buff at Spain's first nudist restaurant
A buffet of organic food will be served on "human tables". Photo: Innato / Facebook

Spain's first naked dining experience is to arrive on the island of Tenerife following the success of a similar venture in London.

Spain's top court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia
Photo: AFP

Spain's Constitutional Court on Thursday cancelled a bullfighting ban in Catalonia in what is likely to exacerbate tensions between Madrid and the separatist region, and between animal activists and fans of the tradition.

Out of the dark: Five years on from Eta ceasefire
Eta members made a ceasefire declaration in January, 2011. Photo: Gara / AFP

Five years after armed separatist group Eta declared a permanent ceasefire, Basque journalist Alberto Letona is still wondering when the dialogue will begin.

Hunt for ten most wanted Brit fugitives hiding out in Spain
Call Crimestoppers if you recognize these faces.

These fugitives from British justice are thought to be hiding out in Spain. Do you recognize anyone?

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Madrid parish church faces fine over 'too noisy' bells
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Fury after kids told to bring their own loo roll to school
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
Bison found decapitated on Valencia nature reserve
Forgotten Voices: What Brits in Spain think about Brexit
One dead and 14 injured in blast at Spanish resort
Game of Thrones want extras 'with muscles' to film in Spain
Thousands march in Madrid to push for bullfighting ban
jobs available