Fourteen people arrested in violent protests after Spanish rapper jailed

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Fourteen People Arrested In Violent Protests After Spanish Rapper Jailed
Spain Rapper, © AP/Press Association Images
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By Associated Press Reporter

Fourteen people have been arrested in violent street protests in several cities in Spain following the arrest of rap artist Pablo Hasel.

The rapper had barricaded himself in a university with dozens of supporters to avoid prison and defend his fight for free speech.

Some 33 people were treated for injuries in the disturbances, emergency services said on Wednesday.

Thousands of protesters set bins on fire and threw rocks at police in Barcelona, in the northeast of the country.


Pablo Hasel supporters demonstrate in Barcelona (Emilio Morenatti/AP)

Meanwhile, several shops and a bank were damaged amid chaotic scenes on one of the city’s main streets.

Spanish National Television said city authorities were estimating the damage at 70,000 euro (£60,938).

Smaller demonstrations took place in other Spanish cities, while further protests were planned for Wednesday.

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A 24-hour standoff between police and Hasel ended early on Tuesday when anti-riot officers arrested him in Lleida University in the northeast of the country.

He was taken to prison to serve a nine-month sentence for insulting the monarchy and glorifying terrorism in a song about former King Juan Carlos I and in 64 tweets.


Thousands of protesters set bins on fire and threw rocks at police (Emilio Morenatti/AP)

His case has drawn much attention, with many artists, celebrities and politicians showing their support and demanding a change to the country’s so-called “gag law”.

Spain’s left-wing coalition government said last week that it planned to change the country’s criminal code to eliminate prison terms for offences involving freedom of expression.

The rapper has previously faced charges for assault, praising armed extremist groups, breaking into private premises and insulting the monarchy.

Amnesty International said Hasel’s case was the latest in a string of trials of artists and social media personalities in Spain under its 2015 Public Security Law, which was put into effect by a conservative government.

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