On July 1, a new law came into effect in Spain, and it is one vicious law. The ruling PP party’s name for it is “The Citizen Safety Law”; citizens and activists protesting the egregious austerity foisted upon them by their own corrupt elites and the IMF call it “ley mordaza” or “the gag law”, and that it’s altogether reminiscent of the days under dictator Francisco Franco. It’s obviously been designed to curtail any public free speech, freedom of association, including on social networks, in Spain, and gives the police insane levels of power to punish protestors financially and all of course without even a nod to due process.
From the Inquisitir:
“According to the ruling PP party, “Demonstrations will be freer because they will be protected from violent elements.” However, those in opposition say the government is creating a “police state,” as now police officers will be able to hand out administrative sanctions and huge fines, which were previously the sole preserve of the courts.”
Now this in a nation whose citizens are suffering high jobless rates, massive foreclosures caused by the bursting of a seriously inflated housing bubble (does it sound familiar?), but whose mortgages must be paid off even after the owners are evicted. Apparently their were punitive clauses written by their Banksters in the fine print.
El Pais English lists ‘Five things Spain’s ‘gag law’ will stop you doing from today’: (July 1)
Demonstrating near Congress and the Senate
The law considers an offense any “serious perturbation of citizen security” in front of Congress, the Senate or regional assemblies, even if the legislature is not in session at the time. “But what constitutes perturbing citizen security?” wonders Greenpeace, denouncing that this decision will now be in the “arbitrary” hands of the police. This measure was introduced at the time when social protest movements such as Surround Congress arose in Spain.
Taking photographs of police officers
Video cameras have become commonplace at protests in recent years. And social networks are being used to disseminate recordings that have captured police abuse on more than one occasion, and have later been used as evidence against officers. This will be harder starting on July 1, as the Citizen Safety Law imposes penalties on “the unauthorized use of images or personal or professional information” about police officers “that could endanger their personal safety or that of their families, of protected facilities or endanger the success of a police operation.” Amnesty International has complained about this, noting that journalists and other individuals’ private recordings have occasionally helped report the use of excessive force by the police.
Stopping a home eviction
“In the name of citizen security, the new legislation bans and criminalizes such common practices as stopping a home eviction,” says PAH, a support association for home loan borrowers in trouble. The PP once went so far as to suggest ties between PAH and the Basque terrorist group ETA. The new law will make PAH’s actions harder, as the police will be able to sanction individuals who “obstruct any authority, public employee or official corporation in the exercise of administrative or judicial agreements or resolutions.”
Protesting from above
As per the new legislation, police officers may slap fines on anyone found “climbing buildings or monuments without authorization when there is a clear risk of damage to persons or goods.” This article seems tailor-made to stop the kind of public campaigns staged by Greenpeace, this organization notes. “In this case, the offense is committed without the need for disturbing the peace or harming citizen security,” notes a Greenpeace release. It will be enough for the police to consider that “a risk” exists.
Peaceful resistance and sit-ins
The new law means the end of peaceful resistance, say non-profit groups. The police will be able to fine anyone who refuses to break up gatherings and demonstrations in public places after “the relevant authority” has ordered it.
Fines of €100 to €600,000
Under the new law, minor offenses will carry fines of €100 to €600, while serious offenses are sanctioned with penalties of €601 to €30,000 and very serious offenses between €30,001 and €600,000.”
The Inquisitir author writes that almost all Indignado protests were peaceful, save for some incidents they believed were committed by agentes provocateurs in order to bring out the riot police; yes, we know about that tactic. Now, nothing I’ve read directly talks of arrests and prison time for breaking these rules, but it’s not hard to believe that ‘failure to pay fines’ would inevitably lead directly to jail.
El Pais’ Dec. 2014 ‘Ruling party rams controversial security legislation through Congress; Opposition calls it “a gag law” while a group of citizens sings protest song in parliament’… tells some of the history of it, but the photo at the top is wonderful. A group of people in the public gallery stood and sang:
When the beating of your heart
Echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start
When tomorrow comes!
It will be interesting to hear if significant numbers of police refuse to don their fascist overlord’s cruelty as they button on their uniforms for their day jobs, won’t it? Will there be massive citizen protests , and if so, how will the police respond?
Spain’s next general election, according to Wikipedia will be held…toward the end of the year; but at least before Dec. 20. Their Rulers are banking on this fascistic law to stifle dissent so that any democracy-loving rabble supporting Podemos don’t get any political power. They must be crushed, like the ‘coalition of the radical left’ Syriza in Greece.
This is Pablo Iglesias on with Amy Goodman in February of this year.
(It’s hard to listen to his comments on Obama…)
Amy had asked about the genesis of the Indignado (15-M) movement into the Podemos political party. This is part I of a discussion on TRRN: ‘Los Indignados to Podemos: The Making of a Party; The Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias learned much of what he knows from the leftward shift in Latin America, says Becquer Seguin, doctoral candidate in Romance studies at Cornell University – February 6, 2015
The other heart-breaking story (among many) I found on Earth First!’s Twitter account was this one from “our backyard” (Joe Biden):
This might be considered a companion piece from July 2 I ran into unexpectedly today, but who knows if their ‘success’ is based on (free, unfettered markets) Austrian economics? ‘What’s Driving Bolivia’s Booming Economy’ I’ll bet the folks at Mise just loooove the TPP and such ‘deals’
But the evidence had been that Evo had indeed been…devolving, even as far back as 2011. Counterpunch used to pick up Glendinning’s posts. She’d even reported him calling the Indigenous some wretched names, although I’ve forgotten the particulars. He’s a long way from his Declaration of Mother Earth, enshrining human Constitutional rights to the planet, and it’s a tragedy. Oh, Evo; you are killing your soul and too many of your people step by horrid step! And think what you’re doing to our Mother Earth in direct defiance of your own inspirational Declaration along the way.