SPAIN brought in its new public security law this week; it sets new limits on our freedom of speech and reduces our right to peaceful protest.
If you or I breach these new laws we could be fined from €100 to €600,000 depending on the severity of the crime. Things that could get you into trouble now include: protesting, disrupting public events, social media activism, photographing members of the police, leaving furniture in the street, drinking outdoors, trying to stop an eviction, not having your ID, and disrespecting a police officer.
If you’ve read some of my previous columns then you will already know that I could now be guilty of at least seven of these, and that’s just by being a little outspoken, or forgetful, not by being in any way an activist or having any particular axe to grind. Even peaceful protests or demonstrations can be banned if they don’t have permission beforehand. If I were to ask you all to sign a petition online via my social media channels I could be fined. It’s all an attempt to subdue the ‘Indignado’ movement which has gained a lot of confidence from recent events in Greece.
It is obvious that the government is preparing for the forthcoming elections. After the recent events in Greece, what can we expect? As a resident of Spain, but not a citizen, I have all of the responsibilities (the taxes) but none of the benefits (the vote).
Is there even any point in me taking notice of what is going on around me in the political world? Well, yes, of course there is because even though I cannot affect it, it can and does affect me, and my family.
It’s all to do with to what degree you do this, which is what is the most worrying. If you prevent people from having the right to express themselves, then it’s the beginning of a slippery slope back down to the days of Franco, fear and oppression.
I’m going to go on to my Facebook now and have a whinge about this, whilst drinking a glass of wine in my back garden. Better not let the cops know about that though… or I’ll end up in clink.