Police arrested 14 people this Saturday (27) in Barcelona on another night of unrest and vandalism in the Spanish city, after a demonstration against the arrest of rapper Pablo Hasél, arrested for criticizing the monarchy.
The protest was one of the most violent since the rapper’s arrest on February 16: protesters destroyed bank branches, ransacked stores, set a police vehicle on fire and attacked a hotel.
Before the episodes of violence, around 2,000 people wearing masks and carrying banners marched through the city to demand the release of Hasel.
The condemnation of the acts was almost unanimous: from the Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez to the interim president of the region of Catalonia, the independentist Pere Aragonés, through the mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau.
“The acts of vandalism and violence tonight in Barcelona are unacceptable,” Pedro Sánchez tweeted.
The only one who did not criticize the violence was the small independent left-wing CUP party. This training is crucial for the inauguration of a new separatist government in Catalonia after the regional elections of February 14 and requires, in return for support, the dissolution of the riot police unit.
The protests began on the 16th after the arrest of the 32-year-old rapper from Lleida (Catalonia), sentenced to nine months in prison for extolling terrorism.
In messages and songs on Twitter, the musician, who has a different criminal record, called King Emeritus Juan Carlos I “mafioso”, hailed those involved in the attacks and accused police of killing and torturing people. migrants and protesters.
The case sparked a debate over freedom of expression in Spain and sparked protests by young people across the country, especially violent ones in Catalonia, where nearly 140 people have been arrested.
More than 200 artists, including filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar and actor Javier Bardem, have signed a petition opposing the rapper’s arrest. The petition compares Spain to countries like Turkey and Morocco, where artists and government opponents live at imminent risk of detention.
The episode also highlights the growing frustrations of many young Spaniards over job insecurity and anger against the country’s political establishment.