• Spain's news in English

Could Europe's human rights court kill off Spain's 'anti-protest' law?

Jessica Jones · 14 Dec 2015, 10:13

Published: 14 Dec 2015 10:13 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The controversial Citizen Security Law was passed by the ruling Popular Party (PP) and came into force in July to fierce protests both in Spain and internationally, with critics arguing the law breaches freedom of speech and the right to peaceful protest.

The ten most repressive points of Spain's 'gag law' 

Under the law, the vague crime of "disrespecting a police officer"  can see people slapped with a €600 ($657) fine while a fine of up to €600,000 ($638,000) can be handed out to someone staging an “unauthorized protest”.

The law also made it an offence to photograph a police officer, which photojournalists argue severely impacts their ability to do their job; photographers have captured police abuse during protests which will now, they argue, go undocumented.

The platform Defender a quien defiende has launched a triple lawsuit with the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg calling for the immediate repeal of the law, which, the group argues, attacks freedom of information.

The group, made up of human rights activists, journalists and lawyers, argues that the gag law restricts journalists and photographers from imparting and receiving information. 

"They are particularly affected since the law jeopardizes their main function: to report on events of public relevance," argues the lawsuit.

"If Madrid won't listen to us, we'll go to Strasbourg!" tweeted  member of the group that has brought the lawsuit.

Photojournalists are "obliged by police to stop filming or photographing police actions for fear of being penalized," the lawsuit claims.

The main objective of the lawsuit, according to the group, is to preserve freedom of expression, freedom of information and the right to protest, which have been "violated" by the Spanish government.

It is a contentious issue in the run up to Spain’s general election on December 20th; the three opposition parties - the Socialists, Ciudadanos and Podemos - have promised to repeal the law if they win the election.

Story continues below…

One of the first offenders caught under the new 'gag law' was a man who was fined €600 for calling police 'slackers' on social media. 

In another controversial incident, a woman was fined €800 for taking a photograph of a police car illegally parked in a disabled parking space. That fine was later scrapped. 

For more news from Spain, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Jessica Jones (jessica.jones@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Spain's Rajoy says king has tasked him with forming govt
Photo: AFP

Spain's king on Tuesday tasked Mariano Rajoy with forming a government, taking the acting conservative prime minister a step closer to power again after a 10-month political deadlock.

Two imams arrested in Ibiza resort over 'Isis support'
The men were arrested in the resort of Sant Antoni de Portmany. Photo: Jose A / Flickr

Two Moroccan imams at a mosque on the Spanish resort island of Ibiza were arrested Tuesday on suspicion of backing the Islamic State group and inciting jihad.

Balearic Islands choose to keep summertime forever
The islands will have longer evenings during winter. Photo: AFP

The Balearic Islands want to keep summertime when the rest of Spain turns the clocks back on Sunday.

  Brazilian had 'uncontrollable desire to kill': Spain police
Francois Patrick Nogueira Gouveia has been charged with murdering his uncle, his wife and their two children. Photo: Guardia Civil.

A Brazilian teenager accused of dismembering his uncle and aunt and killing their two young sons in a grisly crime that shocked Spain had an "uncontrollable desire to kill", police said on Monday.

Man rescued from bin after climbing in to find old clothes
Photo: Policía Local Murcia

Police were called after passersby reported hearing a man calling for help from within a rubbish bin in the Vistabella neighbourhood of Murcia, southern Spain.

Spain faces crucial week as conservatives re-take power
Mariano Rajoy hopes to form a government this week. Photo: AFP

Spain entered a crucial week as acting conservative PM Mariano Rajoy prepared to re-take power, ending ten rollercoaster months without government marked by hope and disillusion.

Eight very creepy Halloween costumes ideas from Spain
Photo: Pan's Labyrinth

Forget flamenco dancers and bullfighters, The Local counts down the freakiest alternative costume ideas to dress up in this Halloween.

Man attacked by racist thug in UK street for talking Spanish

Tomas Gil, 27, from Valencia in eastern Spain was talking to his girlfriend in their native language after a night out in the British seaside town of Poole when he was set upon by a racist thug.

Malaga: Police probe bizarre 'sex death' of homeless Brit
The man was found near Malaga airport. Photo: Dennis Howlett / Flickr

A British homeless man was found dead tied to a bench near Malaga airport with his trousers down and his genitals in a can of tuna.

Clock ticking as Spain races to avoid third elections
Third elections could now be avoided. Photo: AFP

Spain's Socialists voted on Sunday to allow the conservatives to take power, likely averting a third election for Spaniards tired of going to the polls.

Analysis & Opinion
Out of the dark: Five years on from Eta ceasefire
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Spanish 'La Mafia' restaurants banned after Italian complaint
Spain's top court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia
Hunt launched for ten most wanted Brit fugitives hiding out in Spain
Napflix: Spaniards launch very boring TV channel for siestas
Madrid parish church faces fine over 'too noisy' bells
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Fury after kids told to bring their own loo roll to school
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
jobs available