AN AVERAGE of 80 people a day have been fined in Spain under security measures which some have branded a ‘gag law’, according to a human rights NGO.
Amnesty International, which has been campaigning to repeal the Citizen Safety Law, said the state may have made almost €25 million since the measures were introduced in 2015.
The NGO said their calculations, based on Interior Ministry data, may have underestimated the number of fines due to government figures excluding those from Basque and Catalan police forces.
Esteban Beltran, a director with Amnesty International, said the law had made it risky for people to peacefully exercise their human rights.
“This legislation has been worsening the exercise of the rights of peaceful assembly, free expression and assembly and exchanging information since it came into force more than three years ago,” Beltran said.
“It has been used against journalists and legitimate forms of protest and social activism,” he added.
The claim comes as the NGO launched a petition to have the law repealed.
The ruling left leaning Partido Socialista (PSOE) had planned to reform parts of the law covering filming police officers and other measures but backtracked earlier this year.
The Citizen Safety Law was passed by the conservative Partido Popular (PP) when it was in government.
It restricted demonstrations near the Congress of Deputies and Senate and taking ‘unauthorised’ pictures of police officers. It also required protest organisers to notify authorities before holding demonstrations.
Fines for breaking the law range from €100 to €600,000 for the most serious offences.
The PP argued it would make demonstrations freer and safer because it would help to curb violence during protests.
The PSOE, the opposition when the law was passed, said the law represented an attempt from the PP was attempting to create a ‘police state’.