In Barcelona, a protest calling on the government to carry out social reforms as well as to release the rapper Pablo Acel, convicted of praising terrorist organizations, turned into riots.
The rally was organized by student unions, pro-independence supporters of Catalonia, the left-wing Arran, and CUP parties. They demanded a “general amnesty,” “self-determination, a roof, bread, and work.” All in all, thousands of people took to the streets under the slogan “Without a future, we have nothing to lose”.
Barcelona, ciudad sin ley.
— Ángel Grańa (@geluchocangas) February 27, 2021
In addition, the protesters called for the repeal of the labor reform, the public security law, the law on foreigners, as well as the forced eviction from housing due to arrears.
They also demanded that the riot control units of the Catalan law enforcement agencies Mossos de Escuadra, which in their opinion, act too harshly during the suppression of the riots, be disbanded.
After the protesters walked from University Square to Avenida Drassanes, they began to build barricades of trash cans, smashed a bank window and set it on fire, el periódico.com reports.
After that, the radicals went to Plaza Catalunya on the Ramblas, smashing the facades of banks on the way, damaged the hotel Calderón, began to loot stores, in front of the Commissariat of the City Guard radicals set fire to a police car.
Firefighters are working at the scene, Catalan law enforcement agencies reported on Twitter. They are urging locals not to travel to the riot areas.
Two people have been detained.
Protests are also taking place in Girona, Tarragona, Lerida and other Catalan cities. Mass protests began in Spanish cities on February 16 after the arrest of Acel, who was sentenced to nine months in jail by a court for insulting the monarchy and praising banned terrorist organizations in social networks and one of the songs.
The security forces have detained more than a hundred protesters in the meantime, but most of them have already been released.
More than a hundred people were injured, including dozens of law enforcement officers.
One girl lost her eye to a rubber bullet fired by the police.
The protests involve ultra-leftist youths and anarchists. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said that it is necessary to strengthen the protection of freedom of speech in the country, but, according to him, violence is unacceptable under any circumstances.
The government has announced plans to review the penalties for crimes related to freedom of expression so that they would be applied only to those who are violent or whose actions pose a threat to public order.