Spain Government Goes Full Police State; Enacts Law Forbidding Dissent, 'Unauthorized' Photography Of Law Enforcement

from the shut-up-citizen-or-we'll-put-your-money-where-your-mouth-is dept

Well, Spain’s officially a police state now. On July 1st, its much-protested “gag” law went into effect, instantly making criminals of those protesting the new law. Among the many new repressive stipulations is a €30,000-€600,000 fine for “unauthorized protests,” which can be combined for maximum effect with a €600-€300,000 fine for “disrupting public events.”

This horrible set of statutes has arisen from Spain’s position as a flashpoint for anti-austerity protests, the European precursor to the Occupy Wall Street movement. Fines, fines and more fines await anyone who refuses to treat authority with the respect it’s forcibly requiring citizens to show it.

The law also extends its anti-protest punishments to social media, where users can face similar fines for doing nothing more than encouraging or organizing a protest. Failing to present ID when commanded is another fine. And then there’s this:

Showing a “lack of respect” to those in uniform or failing to assist security forces in the prevention of public disturbances could result in an individual fine of between €600 and €30,000.

Spain’s legislators thought of everything. To ensure these crackdowns on protests go off with a minimum of public backlash, “respected” police officers are being given a blank check to use as much force as they feel necessary when breaking up “unauthorized protests.” The law doesn’t directly instruct police to behave badly, but it does provide a very helpful increase in opacity.

A clause in the wide-ranging legislation that critics have dubbed the “gag law” provides for fines of up to 30,000 euros ($33,000) for “unauthorized use” of images of working police that could identify them, endanger their security or hinder them from doing their jobs.

Somehow, the Spanish government has managed to find an expectation of privacy within its public spaces and applied it to its public servants. While the law does make some provision for the public’s “right to know,” it also defers to law enforcement’s judgment when it comes to what is or isn’t “authorized use” of photographs/video depicting police performing their public duties.

Obviously, this small nod towards the public’s rights is completely insincere. The government wants to clamp down on protests and it obviously can’t be embarrassed by award-winning photographs/video of its police officers beating civilians wholly uninvolved with the protests that so angried up the cops’ blood.

Those defending the law (sort of) think the built-in “protections” will at least protect some favored members of the media.

Victora Lerena, president of Spain’s association representing visual journalists, thinks the language about freedom of information will protect journalists, but predicts anyone who tries to take images of police at protests without media organization credentials could be at risk.

This is likely true, considering the “credentialed” press already blurs officers’ faces when reporting. But the most damning images of police misconduct usually come from unofficial sources, and even the most aggressive of mainstream news outlets frequently defer to the government’s judgment when reporting on alleged police abuse.

Spain has outlawed dissent and given the police extra protections and respect they haven’t earned. That’s as close to a police state as you can get without actually declaring martial law.

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Comments on “Spain Government Goes Full Police State; Enacts Law Forbidding Dissent, 'Unauthorized' Photography Of Law Enforcement”

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tqk (profile) says:

Re: Re:

If you don’t like the way the police handle things then don’t be a thug that breaks the law!

So, the proper way to practice the fine old tradition of civil disobedience to inform your elected representatives of your disapproval of the situation is in your locked, darkened, preferably soundproofed, basement alone.

You’re adding nothing to the discussion. Imbeciles like you should be locked up to keep you from hurting yourselves.

andy says:

Re: Re:

All it takes is a vpn to privatise your internet activity and you can post any photo or comment or organise any action against the government in any country including Spain.

Maybe the government of Spain thinks they can sue everyone worldwide and fine them and have them arrested for disagreeing with the government, so be it i am one that you need to catch and i don’t live in Spain , just as millions upon millions will post whatever they want in Spanish websites , if they know the language that is.

I don’t but i will support the Spanish by with this comment organising a protest march to burn the government buildings down on Novemeber the 5th Guy Fawkes day. Support the fight against the top 1% worldwide and burn them all to the ground.

Now come at me Bro…or Spain, or whoever they can organise to arrest me for promoting something with my comment… all done just to show that nobody and no government can stop anyone worldwide from posting whatever they want, even as my comment is done in jest and where nobody will do anything to support it obviously..

forry says:

Re: Re:

Turd Ferguson “If you don’t like the way the police handle things then don’t be a thug that breaks the law!”

Come on. Wake up. You wont be saying that when they come for you. Free speech is gone. freedom to disagree with austerity that affects us all, is going. I doubt you have kids and no doubt have any aspiration for a free future.

Most of these people were there for a peaceful protest or just waiting on a train. It is the police force that create a violent atmosphere in order to make arrests and use there batons.


idiotproof says:

Re: Re:

What a genius you are?
So the police always do the “right” thing huh?
Why denying to be filmed when you are doing the right thing?
Who will make sure they do the right thing?
Piece of id..t You have to recall that the government and the authorites are corrupt. It’s our duty as citizens to make sure our rights preveil. It’s not breaking the law.

bill says:

Re: So how soon before Spain is on fire?

Remove all of the leaders who voted for such a evil act against the people, its time for the people of Spain to rise up and ask for the heads of there leaders for committing treason against the nation and its people. remove any leader who went along with this Marxist bolshevik plot and put them all in jail.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: How do you say...

How do you say “Sieg Heils!” in Spanish?

After Franco’s death, Chevy Chase, reader of the news on NBC’s Saturday Night’s comedic news segment Weekend Update, announced the dictator’s death and read a quotation from Richard Nixon: “General Franco was a loyal friend and ally of the United States. He earned worldwide respect for Spain through firmness and fairness.” As an ironic counterpoint to this, a picture was displayed behind Chase, showing Franco giving the fascist salute alongside Adolf Hitler.

            ——Wikipedia: “Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Agreed. This “respect” they are afforded has a list of criteria on what is respect and disrespect correct? Last time I checked, respect is an overly subjective concept and generally has to be earned. Similar to tolerance and acceptance.

Curious to see what country/state follows Spain’s direction next.

Anonymous Coward says:

They go all in...

€300 is a lot of money for a regular worker or a student. €30000 is years and years of paying… €300000 – €900000 is a destroyed possibility of having a resemblance of any opportunity to ever get back on your feet again.
Like the “war” against piracy they really go all in to destroy peoples lives.
It is sickening to watch them spew garbage that people are oh so violent and depraved when the only thing pulling our society down into a dark and very bad place, is actually our so-called leaders.

Anonymous Coward says:

this is the first country in the EU to totally remove freedom from their citizens, making virtually anything an offence and giving police the right to do what they like, when they like. it gives them the two most horrendous options any ‘public servants’ could have, the right to kill because if instances were to occur in Spain as have happened here in the USA, there would be no way of disputing what happened. even worse, it gives those same ‘public servants’ the right to lie through their teeth to make whatever they do justifiable, even when there has been nothing to warrant any action at all. i wonder how long before there is some pushback to this and, how long before the rest of the EU does the same. it certainly seems to be heading further and faster away from what it was supposed to be the greatest upholders of, freedom and privacy!!

Sharur (profile) says:

Re: Re: Something to keep in mind

An unpopular opinion, but: I think the US has had several peaceable revolutions, to a certain extent.

In the last 15 years,
– House of Representitives Majority has changed parties 3 times.
– Senate Majority has changed parties 6 times.
– The Presidency has Changed parties twice (And flipped twice more in the ten years before that)

The problem isn’t that a revolution is impossible. The problem is that a majority of US voters don’t seem to see the current trend as a problem

Anonymous Coward says:

This is step 1.
The spanish government has for a while now been building up a stock of heavy weaponry and discussing (in private with corporations natch) about essentially giving them control of it’s finances and legal systems because Spains economy is spinning badly out of control.

They’ve hidden HUNDREDS of billions in debt from the public (taken by el presidente effectively) and stolen land from immigrants and emmigrants…the list goes on.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Like dog fighting, cock fighting, etc? Oh, sorry, those happen in the US. Spain has the traditional sport that predates your country, which many citizens are fighting to have outlawed.

Just out of curiosity, what did Spain do to make you such a xenophobic asshole making repeated comments today? Most people stop at one attempt to make themselves look like a complete tosser.

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Re:

But Spain really goes that extra mile by adding cruelty to animals to a national sporting event.

Ever been to the Calgary Stampede? I hear they “put down” at least two horses this year for broken legs.

If you can stand Michener, his “Mexico” is a good explanatory intro to bull fighting. He says they don’t consider it a sport. It’s an art form for them.

Anonymous Coward says:

The Spanish authorities are afraid Spain is becoming the next Greece. So they’re clamping down on democracy in order to avoid a referendum vote like Greece had. A vote about overthrowing austerity, banksters, and the corrupt ruling regime from their country.

I’m sure the MPAA is somewhere mixed in with all this. There’s been a bunch of oppressive copyright laws being passed in Spain recently. We all know how the MPAA likes censoring the internet. So I guess that ties in nicely with police photography censorship.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I know it costs money, and the cheapest ones aren’t very secure, but rent a seedbox in a country you know is safe and vpn through it while at it, so it handles all your torrenting needs, usenet download needs, which can be automated by field of interest and if you want to bring things home use sFTP (ssh over FTP). You’ll learn quickly enough about SSH depending on the seedbox provider of your choice, SSH being the main way to control things for most, although some offer an in-browser https address to your user CP.

Now after that you save money and annoy rhw duxk our of youe Spanish cops with drones you bought.

Just throwin’ in some ideas.

Anonymous Coward says:

Guess the next step is to make sure only “credible” journalist can take pictures. Ofcourse the government would decide who are these.

Sometimes i wonder where are the various human rights activists and EU politicians. When an eastern-eu country does something that isnt in line with their exploitations they throw around sanctions.

Chilling Farts says:

Peru was the guinea pig for spanish draconian laws

In 2013, the peruvian cybercrime law was promoted by banks and a party tied to spanish PP, the PPC (“Partido Popular Cristiano”).

Some of that measures was included in current spanish law, including some anti-leaks measures seen on this article (like “unauthorized filming”).

Just saying. Your taxes are used to bribe press and silence that issues.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: This law is clearly unconstitutional

Well I hope all the few if any Spanish readers here, and by that I mean people from Spain, find a way to share this and send it to the parties not in power. Yeah we just had 11 years soon of the mostly Minority government except from 3011 and on and I find it hard to believe a white industrialized country could do worse than Canada did in the last 4 years..

Anonymous Coward says:

There are mass scale protests for a damn reason, ignoring, threatning, gaging them is not gonna make em go away, your actually making the problem even bigger then it was before

Human rights, your being tested, and we’re finding you woefully lackluster…….profit,greed,money,power,influence,authaurity,surveillance….on the other hand………

Anonymous Coward says:

The Good Old Days

Looks like Spain is heading back to a darker time. Back to the days when the police carried SMGs and beat up women and children over parking fines. I was just a kid when the General was kicked out, one of the most frightening times in the lives of a whole generation of kids. Most of that generation is of an age where we’ve become brave again-too old n’ ornery as the Americans would say. It’s going to be pretty embarrassing when these police officers storm the barricades and find their grandparents, aunts and uncles are all at the forefront.

Rumplestiltskin (profile) says:

Here comes the La Guardia

This isn’t much different than what they had under Francisco Franco. When a culture has gotten too comfy with its complacency, and want to change, they will always head toward Tyranny.

Franco and his La Guardia were tyrants of the first order, and had no compunction against shooting someone just because they didn’t obey at the drop of a hat.

What they have now enacted, is the first step in bringing back a Franco’s styled Spain, with a killing machine who could care less how righteous are your complaints about government. They’ll just shoot you !!!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Here comes the La Guardia

Oh, the same way as in many countries. Mix parties betraying their voters (PSOE) with people being stupid and just checking the “other party” (or not voting at all) instead of finding ways to screw them (like voting for alternatives, even if it’s for the lulz).

Add a pinch of non-proportional and pretty badly thought of voting systems and bam, you got an absolute majority of fascists that is governing the country for 4 years.

Even now, after having been shown that they have stolen scores of thousands of millions (yeah, we use long escale) euros in multiple ways (such as the Bankia issue, a “hole” of 30.000M euro, or that other one that were 12.000M euro and that they don’t expect to get back. Or the preferentes issue, Barcenas, Gurtel, airports and prolly a ton of issues that aren’t even known…

My estimate is that roughly, in Spain, corruption amounts for at least half of the GDP (GDP = 1 Billion €, 10^12 in Spain). You know, the tip of the iceberg and all that…

After all that, people still vote for them and they’ll get 7-8M votes next elections. They are still the most voted party…

But well, let’s see the world:

– Cameron is the big honcho in the UK (with similar circumstances in elections, that system sure is pretty bad).

– The US won’t get out of the Democrat/Republican duality in their whole History (Does Congress/Senate has seats for other parties?). And the worst part is that neither party is too different, sometimes Reps vote for things that a Dem would and the reverse. Plus all that lobbying, that is even institutionalized and accepted…

– Greece just recently voted for a different party than those that lead it to the big debt (and that stole millions of euros from Greeks) and they are getting bashed for it plenty.

You know the funny part? That they made Greece buy so many military hardware that it has more tanks that France, Germany and some other country together, lol. Just hope they don’t turn crazy.

But well, before talking about Franco, let’s look a bit more at the world:

– France, the country of “liberté, egalité, fraternité” was already pretty nutsy when they wanted to pass a law to spy on all citizens. Thanks to Charli Hebdo strike/false flag, that went through pretty smoothly, it didn’t even hurt (hah!). Also, remember that they are the ones who started the whole 3-Strikes deal.

– UK: Cameron seems to be going crazy about encryption and that. It seems that brits want to see how WW2 was from the German side. At least the part of having a GESTAPO spying on you (they already do that).

– US: let’s not bring out the NSA, OK? Or the TSA, the Police, particularly officers that shoot 137 times to 2 suspects or shoot at kids; that’s when they don’t steal your money outright, tase you or any of those things that are done in a free and democratic country.

Yeah, we could talk about the Ley Mordaza (Gag Law) all the day. But just remember that you got a Gag Bang organized in your backyards too.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

They are already illegal. The new law isn’t to address illegal activity.

The novelty of this law is making criminal activity something related to “administrative fines”.

I’m talking from memory here, but part of those things is that they are fines and not sentences. I mean, you get fined by that by the simple fact that you have done it, no judge, no court or whatever (the same as a parking ticket or driving drunk, if you get my drift).

As only monetary fines are considered and not penal, the Code of Law that takes care of them is different. In fact, you just get fined.

If by any chance you want to defend from those charges, you have to go through what’s called a “contencioso administrativo”, that is akin to suing the government. It’s an uphill battle and even if you win, you’re paying the cost of it (“costas”, meaning you pay the use of a court, usually the loser pays for it in a trial).

There is also the fact that policemen here got the upper hand against a citizen. For example, if a policeman says it’s black and you say it’s white, it’s black by law. Their word is worth more than yours.

Now, add to that that you can be fined for filming or recording their activity plus that “lack of respect clause” and you’re up for some hefty fine just because a policeman doesn’t like you (like, for example, asking for his ID).

So yeah, you ask a policeman his ID (they should have it visible, but that’s not always the case), he claims that you have disrespected him (like insulting him), his word is worth more than yours and as filming/recording them is illegal, you’re pretty much screwed.

Another novelty is that they make the organizers responsible for everything that happens in a demonstration, even if it’s done by unrelated groups. So you organize one, a rival/opposite group vandalizes it and you’re going to get a pretty good fine over your head.

Even retweeting it and/or spreading the word over social networks may be considered finable too.

And yeah, not sure about what the Constitutional Court will say. To be honest, for most people it’s pretty unconstitutional not being able to film/record policemen doing their job. The thing is that the CC is made of judges designated by political parties, and you know what that means…

Anonymous Coward says:

The government brought this law in, because loads of politicians committed fraud/ stolen a shit ton (millions) of the peoples money and they don’t want to get linched for it. It wasn’t just a few politicians. They keep on getting caught. week after week and still only a couple have gone to prison.

So when we starting this revolution then. I’m pretty fed up of all the wars and legal bandits ruling us, telling us what we can do and say.

Go Rev 2020

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