Police protest against security law reform in Madrid

Madrid [Spain]: Thousands of police officers protested in Madrid on Saturday over the controversial security law reform, which is popularly called the “gag law.”
The action is attended by representatives of various law enforcement agencies of the country – the National and local police, the Civil Guard, the Basque Ertzaintza. It was supported by the right-wing People’s Party, Citizens Party, and VOX. Before the start of the manifestation, its organizers, the police union Jusapol, promised that it would be “the most massive police protest in the history of Spain.” According to them, 120,000 people were to take part in it. “We say no to this reform. We believe the law must be adapted to current times and must be reformed, but we must never trample the rights of those responsible for security who work with this law every day,” Jusapol President Miguel Gomez told reporters.
Speaking at the march, the leader of the opposition right-wing Popular Party, Pablo Casado said he fully supported the protesters’ demands.
“Every day four police officers are assaulted and this is absolutely intolerable,” Casado said, urging Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez “to listen to the street and to the thousands of police who have risked their lives to defend Spanish democracy and freedom.”
The “gag law” was passed in 2015 during the right-wing government of Mariano Rajoy, sparking outrage on leftist parties. The ruling Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party and Unidas Podemos have submitted five dozen amendments to parliament for discussion, including articles on the distribution of images of the police and the conduct of uncoordinated actions, which in the current version are considered grave violations.
Under the current law, the unauthorised use of images of police officers that could endanger their safety is a serious offense, with offenders risking fines of 600-10,400 euros. The amendment of the leftist parties stipulates that it will not be considered a crime to take photographs or videos, as well as distribute images of police officers on the streets, for example, during demonstrations. Only those cases where the dissemination of images poses a danger to employees will be punished.
The amendments also imply the abandonment of the use of rubber bullets, which should be replaced everywhere with less traumatic ones. Now law enforcement agencies in Spain are using shells made of “sparing” materials.
In addition, the amendments also suggest that protest organizers may not notify the authorities of some actions if they cannot be postponed due to the importance and social significance of the event. A similar case occurred, for example, with spontaneous actions that took place throughout Spain after the sentencing of the rape case in Pamplona.

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