Just one day after International Human Rights Day, the #LeyMordaza (Gag Law) has been approved in Spain which essentially legalizes human rights abuses. Under the new law, the production and distribution of images such as this one can get you a 30.000€ fine.
Spanish Congress approved the restrictive Citizen Safety Law or ‘Gag Law’ today, which now goes to the Senate for final approval. All parliamentary groups except the Partido Popular (PP) oppose the law but PP holds the majority in both the Congress & Senate so the law is expected to pass with flying colors.
— Fresas de Palos ® (@FresasdePalos) diciembre 11, 2014
New Anti-Protest Law in Spain Photographer fined €1,000 Protester, up to €50,000 Cops, a Medal of Merit pic.twitter.com/dzvxX54CnQ
— 15MBcn_int (@15MBcn_int) diciembre 11, 2014
Some of the most controversial aspects of the Ley Mordaza include:
1. Photographing or recording police – 600 to 30.000€ fine.
2. Peaceful disobedience to authority – 600 to 30.000€ fine.
3. Occupying banks as means of protest – 600 to 30.000€ fine.
4. Not formalizing a protest – 600 to 30.000€ fine.
5. For carrying out assemblies or meetings in public spaces – 100 to 600€ fine.
6. For impeding or stopping an eviction – 600 to 30.000€ fine.
7. For presence at an occupied space (not only social centers but also houses occupied by evicted families) – 100 to 600€ fine.
8. Police black lists for protesters, activists and alternative press have been legalized.
9. Meeting or gathering in front of Congress – 600 to 30.000€ fine.
10. Appealing the fines in court requires the payment of judicial costs, whose amount depends on the fine.
11. It allows random identity checks, allowing for racial profiling of immigrants and minorities.
12. Police can now carry out raids at their discretion, without the need for “order” to have been disrupted.
13. External bodily searches are also now allowed at police discretion.
14. The government can prohibit any protest at will, if it feels “order” will be disrupted.
15. Any ill-defined “critical infrastructure” is now considered a forbidden zone for public gatherings if it might affect their functioning.
16. There are also fines for people who climb buildings and monuments without permission. (This has been a common method of protest from organizations like Greenpeace.)
— ☆Miguelón☆ (@ArtDudes) diciembre 11, 2014
In what seems like a return to the times of Franco, activists and human rights defenders criticize the new law as it gives overwhelming power to police. Amnesty International spokesperson Maria Serrano, says the law also deprives migrants of the right to asylum and eliminates guarantees that migrants could have the right to an effective remedy and the right to counsel. Spanish opposition parties strongly opposed the law and staged a protest with gags in response.
— Laura Martínez (@shiwet) diciembre 11, 2014
“Congress now, gags. “You don’t like protest? That’s what we’re doing.”