After a dramatic arrest of a rapper on early Tuesday, the incident later that day sparked the Catalonia protest wherein protesters filled the streets of Barcelona and Girona, in the northeastern Catalonia region of Spain.
Arrest of Pablo Hassel Sparks Protests
Together with his supporters, Hasel had barricaded themselves in the premise of a University in the northeastern provincial capital of Lleida, which is near Barcelona, since Monday. The move made by the rapper along with his fans happened after his deadline to hand over himself in following the expiration of his conviction in a free speech case.
According to CNN, Catalan riot police stormed the Lleida University on Tuesday wherein they arrested the Catalan rapper. Footage from the arrest displays a defiant Hasel shouting that the police will never defeat and overcome them as they will resist until they become victorious.
In May 2020, the Supreme Court of Spain upheld a conviction of a lower court in March 2018 against Pablo Rivadulla Duro, also known as rapper Pablo Hasel. He was sentenced to nine months in jail.
Based on a copy of the court's sentence and a Supreme Court press office statement, Hasel was convicted for his support in terrorism. Also for his libel and slander cases due to his social media messages against the Spanish monarchy.
In addition, the 70-page sentence of the Supreme Court stated that Hasel posted on his Twitter account from 2014 to 2016 messages that has denigrated various institutions while also dedicating phrases that glorified certain personalities convicted of terrorism.
The sentence by the Supreme Court of Spain mentioned that the Twitter account of the rapper had at the time of posting his tweets more than 54,000 followers and officials found 1,915 tweets wherein the terms Monarchy, GRAPO, ETA, King, Police, Bomb, Civil Guard, and Terrorism appeared, BBC News reported.
Moreover, ETA was the armed Basque group, which was listed as a terrorist group by Spain and the European Union as it already killed more than 800 individuals in its lengthy yet unsuccessful fight for Basque independence.
Meanwhile, the rapper who sparked the 'Catalonia protests' posted on his Twitter account that he stayed there without going into exile in order to contribute more in spreading the message, to the mobilization, and for the organization. He also added that the officials have imprisoned him with his head held high for not having yielded to their terror.
During the Catalonia protests on Tuesday night, the police force of Catalonia also known as the Mossos posted on their Twitter account that a group of individuals with violent tendencies in Girona has burned numerous containers and thrown not only stones but also pyrotechnic material at the police in the area of the Sub delegation, Reuters reported.
Mossos also mentioned that there is a group of individuals who had burned a bank in Girona and have removed numerous traffic lights in the area.
Meanwhile, Amnesty International in Spain also posted on Twitter on Tuesday that is unfair for Pablo Hasel if he goes to jail. The human rights group also stated that they will not stop until crimes of the Penal Code that limit artistic expression are repealed as cases like for them cannot be repeated.