Madrid (AP) – Spanish Police fired rubber bullets and baton-charged protesters on Wednesday night for a second night of protest in protest against the arrest of rap artist Pablo Hasle.
Many protesters threw objects at officers and used garbage containers – many set height – and overturned motorbikes to block roads in Madrid and Barcelona and other cities. Many shop windows were broken into demonstrations.
Hessel barricaded himself in a university building earlier this week to avoid his arrest in a case focused on free speech. After a 24-hour standoff, police rescued him early Tuesday.
He was taken to prison in a song about former King Juan Carlos I, serving a 9-month sentence for insulting the monarchy and glorifying terrorism, and 64 tweets several years ago.
Hazel’s legal status has attracted public attention, with artists, celebrities and politicians demanding changes to the law they were convicted of violating.
Amnesty International said the case was the latest in a string of artists and social media celebrities for violations of Spain’s 2015 public safety law, which was enacted by the previous conservative-led government. The law has also been criticized for allegedly allowing free assembly and muzzle protests.
Some political parties defended the protesters but others defended the police, claiming that the violence was caused by the rituals.
Initial reports said that 30 people were arrested on Wednesday and some 20 people were injured in demonstrations.
Eighteen people were arrested on Tuesday after protests erupted in the rapper’s arrest, primarily in Barcelona and other cities in the north-eastern Catalonia region.
Officials said a woman was hit by a police rubber bullet in Barcelona on Tuesday, losing her eye light. Police said some 55 people, both officers and protesters, were treated for minor injuries.
Spanish National Television estimated 70,000 euros ($ 84,000) in damage to Barcelona officials.
Other demonstrations, some violent, took place both Tuesday and Wednesday in other Spanish cities.
In response to protests over the case, Spain’s leftist coalition government said last week that it planned to change the country’s criminal code to eliminate prison terms for crimes related to freedom of expression.
Hasel faced previous charges for the attack, praised armed extremist groups, ransacked private premises and insulted the monarchy.
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