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Clashes erupt in 2nd night of protests over rapper's jailing
AP

Clashes erupt in 2nd night of protests over rapper's jailing

Police in Spain have fired rubber bullets and baton-charged protesters as clashes erupted for a second night at demonstrations against the arrest of a rap artist Pablo Hasél

MADRID (AP) — Spanish police fired rubber bullets and baton-charged protesters as clashes erupted for a second night in a row Wednesday at demonstrations against the arrest of rap artist Pablo Hasél.

Many protesters threw objects at officers and used trash containers and overturned motorbikes to block streets in both Madrid and Barcelona.

Hasél barricaded himself in a university building earlier this week to avoid his arrest in a case centering on free speech. After a 24-hour standoff, police took him away early Tuesday.

He was taken to prison to serve a 9-month sentence for insulting the monarchy and glorifying terrorism in a song about former King Juan Carlos I and in 64 tweets several years ago.

Hasél's legal situation has drawn considerable public attention, with performers, celebrities and politicians demanding a change in the law he was convicted of violating.

Amnesty International said the case was the latest in a string of artists and social media personalities being put on trial for violating Spain's 2015 Public Security Law, which was enacted by a previous conservative-led government.

Police said 18 people were arrested Tuesday after violence broke out at protests of the rapper's arrest, principally in Barcelona and other cities in the northeastern Catalonia region.

One woman lost an eye after reportedly being hit by a police rubber bullet, the private news agency Europa Press and other media outlets reported. Police said some 55 people, both officers and protesters, were treated for slight injuries.

Spanish National Television cited Barcelona authorities as estimating the damage at 70,000 euros ($84,000).

Smaller demonstrations took place in other Spanish cities both Tuesday and Wednesday.

In response to protests over the case, Spain’s left-wing coalition government said last week that it planned to change the country’s criminal code to eliminate prison terms for offenses involving freedom of expression.

Hasél faced previous charges for assault, praising armed extremist groups, breaking into private premises and insulting the monarchy.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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