Target: Mariano Rajoy, Prime Minister of Spain
Goal: Don’t place unreasonable limitations on public protests
Protests could soon be subject to strict limitations if a bill that just passed the Spanish parliament passes the senate. The new law would require all protesters to obtain authorization to demonstrate, and would place hefty fines on those who demonstrate without permission. Anyone protesting outside the entrance of a public building such as a hospital or university would face a fine of over $700,000. Filming the police and “showing disrespect to uniformed officers” could also warrant a fine under the bill.
Since Spain’s 2008 economic crisis, the country has been rocked by strikes and protests against austerity measures that resulted in budget slashes to many public services including education, public transportation, and health care. The measures saw wage cut and job losses for thousands of government employees, funding taken away from disabled citizens dependent on government aid, and further cuts to pension plans.
While the protests have been mostly peaceful so far, the ruling party still seeks to quell them with overly restrictive measures. The Spanish government claims that the bill will help ensure public security, but opponents say that it is a clear threat to freedom of speech and limits freedom of expression.
Rather than trying to stop recurring protests with restrictive limitations, the Spanish government should work to address the issues brought forth by demonstrators. Sign the petition below to demand that this anti-protest bill is thrown out and that the Spanish government work toward improving essential public services such as health care and education.
Dear Prime Minister Rajoy,
A bill seeking to limit citizens’ right to peaceful protest has passed the Spanish parliament. If signed into law, the bill would mandate that all protests obtain permission from authorities before proceeding. Those who break this rule, demonstrate in front of public buildings, show disrespect to a uniformed officer, or videotape the police can face hefty fines of over $700,000.
This bill would place unfair restrictions on fundamental rights such as freedom of speech and freedom of expression. Rather than using limitations to combat ongoing protests, the government should work to address some of the issues sparking protests, such as austerity measures taking away from public services. We, the undersigned, demand that the anti-protest bill is thrown out and that Spain restore funding to health care and education.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Fotograccion via Creative Commons