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Spain sets new stiff fines for illegal protests

Press TV – November 29, 2013

The Spanish government has approved a new draft law which imposes harsh penalties on Spaniards taking part in unauthorized anti-government demonstrations, a move criticized by the opposition as trying to silence protests.

The draft law, presented by Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz on Friday, sets fines of up to 30,000 euros ($40,800) for offenses like torching the national flag, affronting the state or causing serious troubles outside parliament.

Fines of up to 1,000 euros will be imposed on people insulting or intimidating police officers.

Four “very serious” offenses, including interfering in electoral processes and illegal protests at strategic facilities such as airports or nuclear power plants, could be fined up to 600,000 euros (about $1,000,000).

The opposition says the bill is meant to prevent demonstrations against the government as the country struggles with a debt crisis and high unemployment.

“When more than 20 percent of people are unemployed, I don’t think this legislation is what we require,” said Alejandro Tourino, from law firm Ecija.

The government, however, has defended the bill, saying it will create discipline and safeguard public freedoms.

It will help “regulate and protect public freedoms,” said Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria.

Madrid’s harsh spending cuts and rising unemployment have sparked massive anti-government protests across the country in recent years. Protesters argue that the government-imposed measures have failed to curb rising poverty or help extricate the country from its worst recession in years.

The draft law must be approved by parliament, where it may change to some extent. However, it will probably be ratified as the governing party has an absolute majority in the parliament.

Spain has seen numerous protests in recent years. On November 20, students gathered in front of the Education Ministry in Madrid to show their anger at the government’s austerity cuts, rising fees and other changes to the education system.

The Spanish government has been sharply criticized over the austerity measures that are hitting the middle and working classes the hardest.

Battered by the global financial downturn, the Spanish economy collapsed into recession in the second half of 2008, taking with it millions of jobs.

November 30, 2013 - Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , ,

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  1. Reblogged this on Citizens, not serfs and commented:
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