November 21, 2013
Spain’s ruling People’s party has drafted strict new laws against public protests, in a move denounced by the opposition as a blow to democracy.
The legislation, expected to be presented in a cabinet meeting on Friday, would introduce steep fines for activists who take part in unauthorised protests, publish images of police or interrupt public events.
Demonstrating near parliament without permission could result in a fine of up to €600,000, while insulting a police officer during a demonstration could cost up to €30,000.
The prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, said the law was not meant to gag citizens but protect them. “One of the obligations of the government is to guarantee the liberty and security of all of its citizens,” he said.
But Joan Coscubiel, a spokesperson for the Izquierda Plural group in parliament, called the law a “kick in the teeth for democracy”.