MADRID: Thousands of police protested in Madrid on Saturday over plans to reform a controversial security law banning the unauthorised use of police images if it puts them in danger.
The rally focused on plans by Spain’s left-wing government to change the citizen security law, known as the “gag law”, passed in 2015 under the previous right-wing administration at the height of the anti-austerity protests. The reform bill aims to bring the law in line with a Constitutional Court ruling that requiring authorisation to use images of police was “unconstitutional” because it amounted to “prior censorship”.
Waving Spanish flags and union banners, the protesters, accompanied by senior right-wing politicians, marched to the interior ministry in a rally called by Jusapol, an umbrella organisation from which emerged the police and Guardia Civil unions.
They say such reform would remove protection from police and security forces, endanger public security and reduce operational ability to stop violent demonstrations.
“We say no to this reform. We believe the law must be adapted to current times and must be reformed, but we must never trample the rights of those responsible for security who work with this law every day,” Jusapol president Miguel ngel Gmez told reporters.
Speaking at the march, opposition leader Pablo Casado, who heads the right-wing Popular Party, said he fully supported the protesters’ demands.
“Every day four police officers are assaulted and this is absolutely intolerable,” said Casado, urging Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez “to listen to the street and to the thousands of police who have risked their lives to defend Spanish democracy and freedom.”
Published in Dawn, November 28th, 2021