Spain: Congress passes “Gag Law” with huge fines for protesting, filming police

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Joined: 20-01-14
Dec 15 2014 20:57
Spain: Congress passes “Gag Law” with huge fines for protesting, filming police

Excerpts from:

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.

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.)

Joined: 6-01-07
Dec 17 2014 11:21

Some parts of this 'anti-protest' legislation can be found in many other parts of Europe but this list certainly look more comprehensive than most. Of course the existance of more 'liberal' legislation guaranteeing so-called human rights doesn't necessarily stop such abuse in practice when the bosses and their state are threatended in any serious way, and equally the existance of more draconian laws as proposed in this Spanish case does not guarantee their implementation if ignored or opposed by enough people, but they are clearly intended to try and scare some off. It could equally be that some of the more 'liberal' opponents might contrarily be drawn in against the government by such 'illiberal' measures. It would be helpful to keep track of this law and attempts to enforce it.

Joined: 29-09-06
Dec 17 2014 11:36

Comrades, it seems that the Spanish state is very serious about repression now. There hasn't been any article here yet about Operation Pandora, but there were raids and arrests now in Spain and lots of militant protests in response. We should see more of them today.

Joined: 20-01-14
Dec 17 2014 19:06

Are you in Spain, Akai? (feel free to ignore this question if you rather not reveal your location online)

Joined: 20-01-14
Dec 17 2014 22:00

Thanks to a tip from Spikymike to check profiles for this info, I see you're not in Spain. (I was confused by your writing "We should see more of them today.")

Joined: 30-12-14
Jan 10 2015 03:25

On the subject of raids and such in Spain, suffered a raid this same week in December:

6 Jan, 2015

On Tuesday December 16th, a large police operation took place in the Spanish State. Fourteen houses and social centers were raided in Barcelona, Sabadell, Manresa, and Madrid. Books, leaflets, computers were seized and eleven people were arrested and sent to the Audiencia Nacional, a special court handling issues of “national interest”, in Madrid. They are accused of incorporation, promotion, management, and membership of a terrorist organisation. However, lawyers for the defence denounce a lack of transparency, saying that their clients have had to make statements without knowing what they are accused of. “[They] speak of terrorism without specifying concrete criminal acts, or concrete individualized facts attributed to each of them” 2. When challenged on this, Judge Bermúdez responded: “I am not investigating specific acts, I am investigating the organization, and the threat they might pose in the future” 1; making this yet another case of apparently preventative arrests.

Four of the detainees have been released, but seven have been jailed pending trial. The reasons given by the judge for their continued detention include the posession of certain books, "the production of publications and forms of communication”, and the fact that the defendants “used emails with extreme security measures, such as the RISE UP server” 2.

We reject this Kafka-esque criminalization of social movements, and the ludicrous and extremely alarming implication that protecting one’s internet privacy is tantamount to terrorism.

Riseup, like any other email provider, has an obligation to protect the privacy of its users. Many of the “extreme security measures” used by Riseup are common best practices for online security and are also used by providers such as hotmail, GMail or Facebook. However, unlike these providers, Riseup is not willing to allow illegal backdoors or sell our users’ data to third parties.

The European Parliament’s report on the US NSA surveillance program states that “privacy is not a luxury right, but the foundation stone of a free and democratic society” 3. Recent revelations about the extent to which States violate everyone’s right to privacy show that everything that can be spied upon will be spied upon 4. Furthermore, we know that criminalizing people for using privacy tools also has a chilling effect on everybody, and human-rights defenders, journalists, and activists, in particular. Giving up your basic right to privacy for fear of being flagged as a terrorist is unacceptable.