Another night of riots over rapper's jailing grip Spain

Photo: AP

Fresh riots broke out in several Spanish cities late on Thursday in connection with the controversial arrest of a rapper for insulting Spain's royal family, dpa reported.

Violent protests first took place on Tuesday night after the arrest of rapper Pablo Hasel. Fresh riots broke out on Wednesday night in Spanish cities including Madrid, Barcelona, Girona and Grenada.

Rioting was again reported late on Thursday. In Barcelona protesters used rubbish bins to form barricades and set them on fire, the La Vanguardia newspaper reported.

Shops were also damaged and windows of the newspaper El Periodico were destroyed in the unrest. TV footage showed rioters pelting police with stones and bottles.

Protests were also reported in Valencia, Tarragona, Sabadell, Girona, Lleida and Vizcaya. Several people were injured, including at least one policeman who was hit in the head by a stone.

Eight people were arrested in Barcelona, Catalan police said late on Thursday, and eight were arrested in Valencia.

On Wednesday, dozens were injured in clashes between protesters and police, with at least 42 people arrested, the Europa Press news agency reported earlier on Thursday, citing authorities.

Hasel, whose real name is Pablo Rivadulla Duro, was given a nine-month prison sentence for insulting the monarchy and glorifying violence. His imprisonment sparked anger in Spain, where the government wants to introduce legislative changes to avoid such sentences in the future. But such changes would come too late for Hasel.

Hasel had called former king Juan Carlos I, who left Spain for Abu Dhabi after corruption allegations, a "thief" in his lyrics. His work also featured violent fantasies about conservative politicians.

On Thursday, Deputy PM Carmen Calvo of the Socialist Party accused the coalition's junior partner, the far-left Unidas Podemos, of inciting the protests which have has seen thousands of people take to the streets. The right to freedom of expression should not be defended with violence, Calvo said in a radio interview.


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