Protests in support of Pablo Hasel resume across Catalonia
Five mildly injured and at least 14 people arrested as demonstrators damage banks, stores, police vehicles and a police station, and central hotels
Protesters and unrest returned to the streets of Barcelona and other cities and towns across Catalonia to support the jailed rapper Pablo Hasel, as well as demanding self-determination, a "total amnesty", and for the anti-riot brigade of the Catalan police forces to be dissolved.
More than a thousand people have turned out in the Catalan capital, with three different columns marching toward Plaça Universitat, arriving at 6 pm. At least 14 people were arrested in Barcelona as the protests descended into tension and turmoil.
Under the calling of "Without a future, we have nothing to lose," Saturday's gathering is backed by various social entities and political groups, such as CUP, Endavant, Arran, various trade unions, and the CDR protest group.
Protesters also showed up to call for the repeal of Spain's controversial 'gag law', as well as labour reform, the regulation of the rent prices, and to voice anger against evictions.
In Barcelona, the group marched through the Raval neighbourhood and built barricades with rubbish containers, and vandalised bank premises as well as a police station in the neighbourhood.
Additionally, the group also attacked various stores and a hotel on Rambla Catalunya.
Elsewhere, more demonstrations have been organized for Girona, Mataró, Vic, Lleida, Tarragona, Sabadell, while on Friday night in Terrassa a protest ended in clashes with police. Around 300 people turned up in Lleida, 150 in Girona, and 100 in Tarragona.
After rapper Pablo Hasel's arrest on February 16, Catalonia saw over a week of nightly riots and clashes between demonstrators and police.
Police detect "organized" violent groups
The Catalan Mossos d'Esquadra police detected between 250-300 people with a violent attitude during Saturday's riots. According to police sources, they acted in groups of between 15-20 and did so alongside the bulk of the demonstration that has passed through the city centre with a peaceful attitude.
The same sources indicate that some of these groups "were organized" and made fireworks, used gasoline to set fire to the interior of banks and fired flares with gasoline or a similar product.
According to the Catalan police, various groups vandalized and looted shops and set up barricades, as happened on other nights of the recent unrest. At the same time, they have also detected groups of people who did not attack the police but formed barricades with the aim of hindering police action.
Who is Pablo Hasel?
Pablo Rivadulla Duró, or Pablo Hasel as he is more commonly known, is a rapper from the Catalan city of Lleida who was arrested on February 16 to serve time behind bars after being found guilty of glorifying terrorism and slander against the monarchy in his songs and tweets.
How long Hasel will end up spending in prison is not yet clear as he has other ongoing legal issues, but he has been sentenced to two years and nine months for the two separate cases for which he is currently in jail.