Spanish police march on Madrid over changes to ‘Gag Law’

Spanish police march

image : Pixabay

Thousands of Spanish police officers marched through Madrid on Saturday 27 November to protest a newly proposed change to a security law that they say will affect their ability to work. Politicians from across the country’s political spectrum joined the Spanish police march to oppose the changes to the 2015 Citizens Security Law, which critics say damages the right to protest. 

People who disagree with the current bill have named the legislation the “gag law” as it allows authorities to fine media organisations for distributing unauthorised images of police, strictly limits demonstrations and imposes heavy fines for offenders. 

Spain’s centre-left government want to declassify taking photographs or filming police officers at demonstrations from being a serious offence. Under the new changes, police will have to adapt what materials they use at protests to items that are less harmful after a number of people were seriously injured by police rubber bullets. 

The custody time for people arrested at protests will be cut from six hours to two, and fines will be proportionate to the offender’s earnings. “They should either leave the current law as it is or make it better for the police and for the citizens,” Guardia Civil officer Vanessa Gonzalez told Reuters.

Ivan Espinosa de los Monteros, of the far-right Vox party, said: “There is strong opposition against (the reform) of this law. It is against our police and we will not let it happen.” 

However, Isa Serra, spokeswoman for the far-left Unidas Podemos party, said at a rally in Cantabria in northern Spain that the law had done a “lot of damage to Spanish democracy”.

Organisers said 150,000 people took part in the Spanish police march but the government put the figure at 20,000.

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Written by

Claire Gordon