MADRID: About two thousand people marched to the rhythm of drums in Madrid on Tuesday against a controversial new Spanish law that regulates the right to demonstrate.
Nicknamed the “gag law” by its detractors, it comes into force on Wednesday, after being denounced by a number of NGOs, lawyers’ associations and journalists.
The law provides for fines of up to 600,000 euros ($670,000) for some non-authorised protests.
It stipulates fines of up to 30,000 euros for public disorder offences. Those barring efforts to evict insolvent families from their homes could also face the same penalty.
A “lack of respect” for a police officer could be punished with a fine of 600 euros.
“They want all of us to be silent, for no one to protest,” said Juan Sánchez, a 21-year-old student, draped in a republican flag from before the civil war, a traditional symbol of the Spanish left.
“With the ‘gag law’ brought into force, the practice of journalism will be less free,” said the Madrid Press Association in a statement.