Barricades burn in Spanish streets amid protests over jailed rapper.

Police fired tear gas, rubber bullets, and sound bombs at two protests in Madrid and Barcelona on Wednesday night, each attended by thousands, the day after a rapper was arrested on charges of glorifying terrorism and insulting royalty in his songs.

Protests in the capital’s central Plaza de Sol square were initially peaceful, with people clapping their hands in unison and chanting “No more police violence” and “Freedom for Pablo Hasél”, the rapper detained in the Catalan city of Lleida on Tuesday.

But police charged into the crowd wielding batons after a few protesters began throwing glass bottles and stones they had loosened from the pavement. Some protesters responded by setting fire to containers to create barricades in the narrow Madrid streets.

In Barcelona, there were similar scenes as local police the Mossos d’Esquadra fired rubber bullets into the crowd on Wednesday, injuring a Reuters reporter on the ground.

When protesters began throwing projectiles at the armoured vans, the Mossos retaliated by shooting rubber bullets aimed at face-level. As the riots appeared to stagnate, large stretches of central Barcelona streets were choked with smoke from burning bins.

Hasél, known for his radical leftist views, had missed a deadline last Friday to surrender to authorities to serve a nine-month jail term handed down in 2018 – a sentence that caused an uproar in Spain and led the government to announce it would make free speech laws less restrictive.

On Tuesday, police had stormed a university building where Hasél had barricaded himself and arrested him, triggering rallies and riots in Barcelona and other Catalan cities.

Police arrested 18 people, while 55 were injured, including 25 officers, officials said on Tuesday.

Protest organisers used social media to call for further rallies on Wednesday night to demand Hasél’s release across Spain, including in Madrid.

A source at Catalonia’s interior department said police had “strengthened sensitive areas” to avoid more riots, but declined to give further details.

During a news briefing, regional security chief Miquel Samper appealed to protesters to congregate peacefully.

A police source said there was no plan to bolster security nationwide for the protests, however. – Reuters

The Irish Times

The Irish Times online. Latest news including sport, analysis, business, weather and more from the definitive brand of quality news in Ireland.

https://www.irishtimes.com/

Related news
Virus-hit EU under fire for vaccine shortages - DW News.

Virus-hit EU under fire for vaccine shortages - DW News.

The European Union is under pressure over vaccine shortages, as infection numbers continue to climb. Brussels is now backing a ban by Italy on the export to Australia of a quarter of a million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine. So far, the drugmake...

AstraZeneca exec:  «We are ready to supply tens of millions of doses»  in the U.

AstraZeneca exec: «We are ready to supply tens of millions of doses» in the U.

Millions of doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine are being administered to some of the world's lowest-income countries thanks in part to the global COVAX initiative. The drugmaker plans to request emergency-use authorization for its vaccine f...

NHS pay row: 1% 'feels like a kick in the teeth'

NHS pay row: 1% 'feels like a kick in the teeth'

Nurses union and group leaders have set up an industrial action fund as the government continues to defend its suggestion of a 1% pay rise. Sky's Katerina Vitozzi speaks to some of those in the argument and what the disenchantment may mean for the...

Coronavirus relief bill could pass Senate by this weekend.

Coronavirus relief bill could pass Senate by this weekend.

The Senate is continuing to work on President Biden's coronavirus relief bill, and it could be sent back to the House by this weekend. CBS News congressional correspondent Nikole Killion joined CBSN's Tanya Rivero from Capitol Hill with the latest...

Suicidal teen told by Children's Mental Health Services to 'take a bath'.

Suicidal teen told by Children's Mental Health Services to 'take a bath'.

Warning: This video contains detailed testimony about mental health issues and suicidal feelings - which some viewers may find distressing. School closing and Lockdown restrictions have seen a rise in mental health issues in young people. Minister...

Concha: Cuomo nursing home scandal has 'follow-the-money' angle.

Concha: Cuomo nursing home scandal has 'follow-the-money' angle.

FOX News contributor and The Hill media columnist joins 'America Reports' with reaction to bombshell report. #FoxNews Subscribe to Fox News! Watch more Fox News Video: Watch Fox News Channel Live: FOX News Channel (FNC) is a 24-hour all-encompassi...

1 60