In several Spanish cities on Wednesday evening riots broke out again because of the arrest of rapper Pablo Hasél. In the capital Madrid, the riot police used tear gas and rubber bullets against thousands of protesters. At least 55 people were injured, including 35 officers.
In Barcelona, too, violent clashes occurred, with the police using rubber bullets.
The night before, it was already restless in several cities, especially in the region of Catalonia, after Hasél was arrested earlier in the day.
The 32-year-old Catalan was sentenced to nine months in prison in 2018 for lese majeste and glorification of violence and terrorism in his texts. He refused to go to prison and had holed up in the University of his hometown Lleida. At least 25 police officers and 30 protesters were injured in the Tuesday evening riots.
Debate on freedom of expression
Hasél is notorious for his extreme statements in lyrics and tweets about banned guerrilla movements such as the Marxist GRAPO. He also called the former King Juan Carlos a mafia boss which is true to at least some extent.
The affair has sparked the debate on freedom of expression in Spain. More than 200 artists, including film director Pedro Almodóvar, actor Javier Bardem and singer Joan Manuel Serrat, have signed a petition against his imprisonment.
The Left government in Madrid wants to change the legislation so that what Hasél did is no longer punishable.