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Fourth night of demonstrations calling for jailed rapper's release

Pablo Hasel was sentenced for glorifying terrorism and slandering monarchy in tweets and songs

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19 February 2021 08:02 PM

by

ACN|Barcelona

A fourth night of protests began in cities and towns throughout Catalonia, including Barcelona and Girona, on Friday evening to demand rapper Pablo Hasel's immediate release from prison. The musician's sentence for "glorifying terrorism" and "slander against the monarchy" has sparked a wave of outrage amongst sympathizers and reignited the debate surrounding freedom of speech in Spain. 

Around 1,000 demonstrators in Barcelona began to gather at 7 pm at Plaça Universitat square, in the city center, eventually making their way down Via Laietana, where a Spanish national police station is located, before heading to the Pla de Palau area and on towards Arc de Triomf. 

As has been the case other nights this week, protesters in both the Catalan capital and Girona have thrown objects at police officers and built barricades out of dumpsters before setting them on fire.

Four nights of protests

Demonstrations held nightly since Tuesday, when Hasel was detained, have started out peacefully before descending into violent clashes between protesters and police that have left more than 60 people injured, including a young woman who lost an eye to what is suspected to have been a foam bullet shot byand dozens of arrests. 

Why is Hasel in prison?

Pablo Hasel was arrested in his hometown of Lleida, in western Catalonia, on Tuesday, where he had barricaded himself inside a university building with a group of supporters after refusing to turn himself in voluntarily within the court-mandated 10-day timeframe.

How much time Hasel will end up serving behind bars is unclear due to the ongoing legal cases against him, although he has been sentenced to two years and nine months in prison for two separate cases in which he was sentenced for the content of his tweets and song lyrics.

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  • Students in Girona marching in support of jailed rapper Pablo Hasel on February 19, 2021 (by Gemma Tubert)

  • Students in Girona marching in support of jailed rapper Pablo Hasel on February 19, 2021 (by Gemma Tubert)

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