On June 1, Spain passed a law enacting fines of up to US$33,000 for peaceful protest and filming of police. Critics of what they are calling “the gag law” say it is a step back into dictatorship.
According to the New York Times, citizens under the new law can be fined the equivalent of almost US$700 for “insulting” an officer, and over US$33,000 for recording and disseminating images of law enforcement — which are most important and effective during instances of police brutality and abuse of power.
Peaceful protesters could face fines of up to US$664,000 for participating in an unauthorized protest outside government buildings.
Critics of “the gag law” have already begun civil disobedience by sitting in front of government buildings wearing gags around their mouth. “Fascism wants to gag the people,” one sign read.
— Juan Medina, Reuters
Judith Sunderland of Human Rights Watch told the Times that the law presents “a direct threat to the rights to meet peacefully and freedom of speech in Spain.”
The new law deals a heavy blow to democracy and straight-out human decency in the turbulent country. Punishing attempts to bring transparency and protest to the actions of