Protesters clash with Spanish police in fresh unrest over jailed rapper

Protesters clash with Spanish police in fresh unrest over jailed rapper

Supporters of Catalan rapper Pablo Hasel protest in Barcelona
People hold their hands up during a protest in support of rapper Pablo Hasel in Barcelona on Feb 21, 2021, after he was given a jail sentence on charges of glorifying terrorism and insulting royalty in his songs. (Photo: Reuters/Nacho Doce)

BARCELONA: Protesters threw bottles, stones and rubbish containers at police in Barcelona on Sunday (Feb 21) in a sixth night of clashes after a rapper was jailed for glorifying terrorism and insulting royalty in his songs.

The nine-month sentence of Pablo Hasel, known for his virulently anti-establishment raps, has prompted debate over freedom of expression in Spain and sparked protests that have at times turned violent.

"You have taught us that being peaceful is useless," read a banner carried by protesters.

Supporters of Catalan rapper Pablo Hasel protest in Barcelona
A person throws an object during a protest in support of rapper Pablo Hasel in Barcelona on Feb 21, 2021, after he was given a jail sentence on charges of glorifying terrorism and insulting royalty in his songs. (Photo: Reuters/Nacho Doce)

Police were pelted with projectiles by some demonstrators and a man was attacked by demonstrators who accused him of being a secret police officer, El Pais newspaper reported.

About 1,000 demonstrators gathered in the city, local police said.

READ: Police, protesters clash in Barcelona at rally for jailed rapper

READ: Fresh clashes at Spain protests over rapper's arrest

Protesters had looted shops on Saturday on Barcelona's most prestigious shopping street, Passeig de Gracia, while also smashing windows in the Palau de la Musica concert hall

On Sunday, a lone man outside the concert hall shouted at protesters: "You don't touch the Palau."

More than 90 people have been arrested across Catalonia and in other Spanish cities since Hasel was arrested and jailed on Tuesday. One woman lost an eye during clashes in Barcelona, triggering calls from politicians to investigate police tactics.

Supporters of Catalan rapper Pablo Hasel protest in Barcelona
Police officers stand guard during a protest in support of rapper Pablo Hasel in Barcelona on Feb 21, 2021, after he was given a jail sentence on charges of glorifying terrorism and insulting royalty in his songs. (Photo: Reuters/Nacho Doce)

Oscar-winning actor Javier Bardem was among artists, celebrities and politicians who called for a change in the law covering freedom of expression.

The Spanish government said last week it would scrap prison sentences for offences involving cases of freedom of speech.

Source: Reuters/kg

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