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Soy Charlie: Spain just BANNED Free speech and freedom of expression


The Spanish senate has voted to push forward with controversial changes to the country’s public security laws, cracking down on Spaniards’ rights of freedom of assembly and expression despite opposition from activists and human rights groups.
Recent years have seen millions of Spaniards take to the streets to voice their dissatisfaction with the rightwing People’s party government, protesting against crippling austerity measures and attempts to roll back the country’s abortion laws. Now the government has hit back with legislation, dubbed the “gag law” by critics, that seeks to limit protests by laying out strict guidelines on when and where they can take place and penalising offenders with steep fines.
The legislation includes fines of up to 600 euros for failing to notify authorities about demonstrations in public areas, even in the case of peaceful protests. Once approved, marches that veer from the approved itineraries could face fines of up to 600 euros.
The fines climb to 30,000 euros for protests that result in “serious disturbances of public safety” near parliament and Spain’s regional government buildings. Unauthorised protests that take place near key infrastructure, such as transportation hubs, nuclear power plants, refineries and telecommunications installations could result in fines of up to 600,000 euros.
The legislation will now head to Spain’s Congress of Deputies, where the legislation is expected to be ratified by the end of the month.
Greenpeace, whose members were recently hauled into court over a 2011 demonstration held at a nuclear power plant in Valencia, has spoken out against the legislation. “It’s our right to express our opinion, to march to parliament, to go to nuclear power plants to say that they are dangerous or unfurl a banner on a building or street,” said Miguel Ángel Soto of the group.
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