Wednesday, January 19

Police demonstrate in Madrid against reform bill

Several thousand members of the Spanish security forces demonstrated on Saturday, alongside leaders of right-wing parties, against a bill to reform a law, nicknamed “gag law” by its critics, which has banned since 2015 the use without authorization of images of the police if they could endanger them.

Protesters, waving Spanish flags and union banners, marched towards the Interior Ministry at the call of Jusapol, an organization of the main police and Civil Guard unions, Jupol and Jucil.

“We say + no + to reform,” Jusapol president Miguel Angel Gomez told reporters. “We believe that the law must be adapted to the current period and be reformed but we must never trample on the rights of those who are in charge of security and work with this law every day.”

The reform project – on which the Socialists of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and their radical left allies of Podemos are working – aims in particular to bring the text into line with the decision of the Constitutional Court which ruled last year “unconstitutional” the fact of having to ask for permission to use images from the police as this is akin to “prior censorship”.

This law was adopted in 2015 under the right-wing government of Mariano Rajoy in the midst of a wave of anti-austerity protests. The current left-wing government had promised to reform it.

According to the Jucil union, such a reform would open “an obscure scenario of uncertainties” and would be a victory “for those who do not agree with the established order and intend to overthrow it in the street with violent acts”.

Deemed to be liberticidal by a part of society, this law of “protection of citizen security” notably prohibits “the unauthorized use” of images of the police “which may endanger the personal or professional safety of agents. , protected installations or the success of an operation, while respecting the fundamental right to information “.

An offense punishable by fines ranging from 600 to 10,400 euros.

This law has similarities with the controversial French law on global security, whose controversial article punishing “provocation to the identification” of the police was censored in May by the Constitutional Council.

Speaking in the parade, opposition leader Pablo Casado, president of the Popular Party (PP, right), gave his full support to the demands of the demonstrators.

“Every day, four police officers are attacked and it is absolutely intolerable”, said Mr. Casado, asking Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez “to listen to the streets and the thousands of police officers who risked their lives to defend the Spanish democracy and freedom”.

“It is extraordinary that for the first time in our democracy, those who risk their lives to protect us must demonstrate because they are left defenseless,” he said previously.

Other politicians also joined the parade, including Santiago Abascal, leader of Vox (far right), and Ines Arrimadas, leader of Ciudadanos (center right).

“Essentially, this law amounts to removing all protection from the police and criminalizing them, casting doubt on them and favoring those who attack them,” said Arrimadas.

“We are tired of seeing Spanish criminals benefit from more protection than the police and those who respect the law,” she said.

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