Police in Barcelona, Madrid, and some parts of northeastern Catalonia have their hands filled after civil unrest erupted in the streets.
The people are upset because Spanish-national rap star Pablo Hasél was arrested and sentenced to nine months in jail for lyrics that seemed to promote violence against the government.
Law enforcement report that over the last four days they have been hit by bottles, stones, fireworks, and even paint because his fans believe he should be freed, as his incarceration shows the country’s intolerance regarding freedom of speech.
It is alleged that Hasél’s words insult Spain’s monarchy and promote terrorism. The protest started off peacefully. But many believe the presence of police and small disruptors incited violence.
“Democracy protects freedom of speech, including the expression of the most awful, absurd thoughts, but democracy never ever protects violence,” said Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.
According to DW.com, the rap lyrics and tweets that have caused this ruckus are not new, making it seem as if the country is not only out of touch (late) but targeting the creative.
Hasél said that former King Juan Carlos I was a mafia boss and that the police tortured and killed demonstrators and migrants.
Amnesty International has spoken out asking that Spain change its anti-terrorism and gagging laws to respect dissent and disapproving messaging.
He has also been supported by other artists and celebrities. But the voices and images of regular people on social media are ringing the loudest.
Very very good threat to understand the context surrounding rapper Pablo Hasel’s sentence and related events.
Both for people in Spain and abroad
— Irene Pujol (@i_athenea) February 20, 2021
"Freedom is the reason for living.
A form of love, Freedom."
— Lita🎗#NoSurrender (@litaborras) February 19, 2021
Catalan students are protesting today against the imprisonment of rapper Pablo Hasel. https://t.co/s9u1HHlIx3
— Josep Goded (@josepgoded) February 19, 2021
Media take images as demonstrators make barricades and burn trash containers during a protest condemning the arrest of rap singer Pablo Hasél in Barcelona, Spain, Friday, Feb. 19, 2021. pic.twitter.com/YewXKjPaFw
— Emilio Morenatti (@EmilioMorenatti) February 19, 2021
📽 | David Martín, the spokesperson of the Llibertat Pablo Hasel movement, says the only way "to resist repression is to organize a strong solidary movement" demanding a "total amnesty and the derogation of repressive laws"
— Catalan News (@catalannews) February 19, 2021