jueves, 24 de abril de 2014

Amnesty International: "The right to protest, under threat in Spain"

This is the "marca España": Criminalization of social protest, mutilated people, and political prisoners. While most of this rotten society prefers to continue anesthetized (it's also true that here the brave people are buried in roadsides) it was time for the international community began to perceive what is happening in the Spanish State. Now they only need courage and throw them involved, because the situation is becoming so serious to be making an urgent international aid, and I don't mean "bailouts" but to intensify and multiply watching what happens here, by citizens and journalists from other countries, and by international judicial bodies. 

No longer enough to communicate with each other (the inhabitants of Españistán) because it has already become an exercise of indignant inbreeding: We all know the situation of brutish decay of this dictatorship. We need to inform out ourselves, we need strong international pressure to curb achieved dictatorial and anti-social aspirations of this government that destroys itself by leaps and bounds taking us as hostages. It may be our last chance before this our habitat becomes a dump and violence definitely explodes everywhere.




Amnesty International website:

Spain: Protests and the suffocating embrace of the law


The Spanish government is using the full force of the law to suffocate legitimate peaceful protest
Jezerca Tigani, Europe and Central Asia Deputy Programme Director
Thu, 24/04/2014


The excessive use of force by Spanish police and plans to strengthen repressive legislation are a damning indictment of the Spanish government’s determination to crush peaceful protest, said Amnesty International in a new report published today. 

“The Spanish government is using the full force of the law to suffocate legitimate peaceful protest,” said Jezerca Tigani, Europe and Central Asia Deputy Programme Director. 

“The police have repeatedly used batons and rubber bullets against demonstrators, injuring and maiming protestors and by-standers alike. The police act with complete impunity, while peaceful demonstrators and leaders of social movements are continually harassed, stigmatized, beaten, sometimes arrested to face criminal charges, imprisonment and fines.” 

Amnesty International’s report, Spain: The right to protest under threat, [http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/EUR41/001/2014/en] exposes violations by police against demonstrators, the lack of accountability for these violations and the determination of the Spanish authorities to strengthen repressive legislation. 

Since the economic and financial crisis hit Spain, the loss of jobs, austerity measures and the perceived lack of transparency in decision-making, have led thousands of people to take to the streets. 

In 2012, there were nearly 15,000 demonstrations throughout Spain, amounting to around 40 per day. In 2013, there were 4,500 demonstrations in Madrid alone: an increase of 1,000 from the year before. 

As the government itself has recognized, demonstrators committed violence in less than one per cent of the rallies. 

Excessive use of force and detention 
The police routinely use excessive force to disperse peaceful demonstrations with protestors beaten, arrested, detained, prosecuted and fined. 

While police may sometimes have to use force in order to maintain public order and safety and prevent crime, they must comply with the state’s obligations under international law to ensure freedom of assembly.   

However, police in Spain have used excessive force with impunity. 

Amnesty International has documented the excessive use of force by police, including the use of batons and rubber bullets resulting in unwarranted injuries. 

After a protest in Barcelona in 2012, Ester Quintana was hit by a rubber bullet fired by the police, causing her to lose her left eye. She told Amnesty International: 

“Due to the impact of the rubber bullet, I have a deformed nasal septum, injuries in my mouth and my ear, and have lost sensation on the left side of my face. I am still under psychological treatment, my daily routine has been affected, as well as the way I am connected with people, how I am seen by them. I’ve been denied any kind of social benefits I have applied for.” 
Detainees have also been ill-treated when taken into police custody. 

Several individuals held in the Moratalaz police station in Madrid described the violent and humiliating treatment they received. Officers forced them to stand facing a wall for hours on end. 

Journalists and photographers covering demonstrations have also reported being the target of police violence. Cameras and equipment have been damaged by police to prevent the documenting of police violence. 

Repressive laws 
Under Spanish law, individuals deemed to be the organisers or leaders of unauthorized demonstrations can be fined up to €30,050. 

Maria, who was fined €1,000 for protesting against budget cuts, told Amnesty International: 

“They want to destroy the leadership of the movements, and so are seeking out the spokespeople. I keep participating in demonstrations and other activities, because I’ve been told we’d all pay the fine jointly; but you can see that there is fear. Young people who have no job cannot afford to pay the fines.” 

The European Court of Human Rights has stated that freedom to take part in a peaceful assembly is of such importance that participants should not be penalised unless they commit a crime. 

A further blow to the right to peaceful assembly are planned reforms to the Criminal Code and the Law on the Protection of Public Safety, which will introduce a range of new charges targeting protesters and increase penalties. 

“Rather than enacting repressive laws, the Spanish government and parliament must review legislation, policies and practices relating to public assemblies and demonstrations in order to ensure they meet international obligations,” said Jezerca Tigani. 

“The Spanish authorities are moving in the wrong direction. By further restricting the rights to freedom of expression and assembly they will only increase the chasm between those in power and the people of Spain. Public discontent cannot be stifled with repression,” said Jezerca Tigani. 


The Guardian

Spain restricting people's right to protest, Amnesty report finds

Report paints picture of heavy-handed government response to country's growing social movements 

The Spanish government is using fines, harassment and excessive police force to limit the right to protestAmnesty International warned in a new report released on Thursday.
Against a backdrop of chronic unemployment and shrinking public funds for education, health and social services, a growing number of Spaniards have taken to the streets in recent years. But "instead of listening to their demands, instead of starting a dialogue, authorities are doing everything they can to impede people from protesting", said the report's author, Virginia Álvarez.
Amnesty International tracked several protests in Madrid and Barcelona during the past year, gathering first-person accounts, interviewing journalists and lawyers and analysing videos and photographs.
The resulting report paints a stark picture of a heavy-handed government response to the country's growing social movements.
"With threats of fines or threats of being beaten, the government is trying to stigmatise and criminalise people who are just practising their rights."
In March, a violent clash between riot police and demonstrators in Madrid earned headlines around the world and left more than 100 people injured, including 67 police officers.
Pointing to a rise in street violence carried out by radical groups, Spain's director general of national police told parliament on Wednesday that the head of the anti-riot squad had been dismissed and police services were being restructured to deal better with what he called "an escalation of violence never seen before".
Amnesty International found that although the vast majority of protesters were peaceful, police treated them in the same manner as those who incited violence. In many cases, said the report, police had used excessive force to confront protesters.
"The impunity of police in Spain is something we've been covering for many years," said Álvarez. "But now we're seeing it in the distinct context of social protest."
The report documents several cases of excessive police force, such as that of Ester Quintana, an unemployed 43-year-old from Barcelona who lost her left eye in 2012 after being struck by a rubber bullet as she was leaving a protest.
Despite the many witnesses and video recordings that showed riot police firing rubber bullets, the interior minister of the Catalan regional government initially denied they had done so during the protest.
Instead, the minister insinuated Quintana's injury may have been caused by an object thrown by other demonstrators. "These were normal people, who were unjustly fined, unjustly beaten and afterwards were victimised all over again as they tried to find justice and found only inadequate investigations into their cases," said Álvarez.
Many of those interviewed by Amnesty International had been detained by police during protests. They spoke of treatment that varied by gender, with men often subject to a higher degree of violence and women pelted with sexist insults. One 21-year-old shared her frustration at being called Snow White and taunted over whether she wanted sex or water while being taken into custody.
These actions are having a dissuasive effect on protesters, said the organisation. As one 49-year-old activist explained: "They say that the movements are losing force, but the reality is that people are scared."
Citing public disobedience, fines ranging from €300 to €1,500 (£250 to £1,245) have become commonplace for protesters, said Jezerca Tigani, deputy director for Europe at Amnesty International.
"Many of the people who are attending these protests face financial constraints. They are totally and completely unable to pay the fine," she added.
The members of the Mortgage Victims' Platform (PAH), in their fight to halt the number of home repossessions in Spain, have racked up more than €40,000 in fines.
Spanish authorities have been allowed to develop these practices, said Tigani, because the country's legislation is out of step with European and international human rights standards. "On top of that, the Spanish authorities have been really stretching beyond what the existing legislation allows for," she added.
Rather than aim to bring the situation in line with international standards, the Spanish government is looking to further entrench this manner of dealing with protesters, she said, citing the strict anti-protest laws currently being drafted by the government. "Now they are talking about fines of up to €600,000 for protesting. That tells you how extortionist this is."
In the coming days, Amnesty International will present its report to various government bodies in Spain, including the ministries of justice and the interior.
"The authorities do know what is going on. Other international bodies are raising very similar concerns," said Tigani. "Whatever the authorities are doing has no place in a society that calls itself democratic."




Terra Argentina.

DENUNCIAN QUE EL DERECHO A LA PROTESTA ESTA AMENAZADO EN ESPAÑA


El avance represivo amenaza el derecho de protesta en España, denunció hoy Amnistía Internacional en un informe que relata abusos policiales y la implementación de leyes draconianas contra los manifestantes.
En su estudio, presentado en Madrid y titulado "España: El derecho a protestar, amenazado", la Organización No Gubernamental (ONG) denuncia "cómo el gobierno está utilizando todo los medios posibles para limitar por ley el derecho a la libertad de expresión y la protesta pacífica".
En ese sentido, señala que la futura Ley de Seguridad Ciudadana del gobierno de Mariano Rajoy, líder del derechista Partido Popular (PP), supondrá "la puntilla del gobierno a un progresivo deterioro del derecho de reunión, asociación y expresión en España".
Asimismo, la organización denuncia el "uso abusivo" de la fuerza contra los manifestantes y de las sanciones administrativas y penales, que están provocando un "efecto disuasorio" en la ciudadanía a la hora de salir a protestar.
AI destaca que "las violaciones de derechos humanos recogidas en su informe, elaborado durante 2013 y que incluye el testimonio de 30 víctimas de abusos, no se producen en un entorno vacío, sino en el marco del avance de las políticas neoliberales".
La organización recuerda que desde que la crisis económica y financiera golpeó a España en 2008, la pérdida de puestos de trabajo -hasta seis millones de desocupados-, las medidas de austeridad y la falta de transparencia en la toma de decisiones han llevado a miles de personas a salir a la calle a expresar su malestar.
En 2012 hubo casi 15.000 manifestaciones en toda España: unas 40 por día. En 2013 hubo 4.500 solamente en Madrid: un incremento de un millar respecto al año anterior. Pero el propio gobierno español reconoció que sólo hubo actos violentos en menos del uno por ciento de las protestas.
El estudio abarca las manifestaciones que tuvieron lugar en los últimos años, como las protagonizadas por el movimiento 15M o de los indignados, la Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca (PAH) y otras organizaciones sociales que luchan "pacíficamente" contra los recortes y las políticas de ajuste del gobierno de Rajoy.
AI explica que, según la legislación española, las personas consideradas como organizadoras o líderes de manifestaciones no autorizadas pueden ser sancionadas con multas escalonadas que van de los 300 a 30.050 euros.
El estudio releva que la Delegación del Gobierno de Madrid impuso 1.117 multas por infracciones administrativas en 2012. Por su parte, la Comisión Legal de Sol (movimiento 15M) tuvo conocimiento de 953 casos entre mayo de 2011 y abril de 2013, además de 314 personas apercibidas por infracción de la Ley sobre Protección de la Seguridad Ciudadana.
En la mayoría de los casos, las sanciones se adoptaron por participar en manifestaciones no notificadas.
También se considera como infracción grave la negativa a disolver manifestaciones o reuniones cuando lo ordena la autoridad competente, por ejemplo cuando se considera que una manifestación está provocando una alteración del orden público o está poniendo en peligro a personas o bienes.
El informe indica que la Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca acumula más de 40.000 euros en sanciones.
El otro punto destacado del informe es el "uso excesivo de la fuerza" contra manifestantes y periodistas, abusos y malos tratos cometidos durante detenciones, así como la falta de transparencia en las investigaciones internas cuando los agentes de seguridad son denunciados.
"Han existido violaciones de derechos humanos cometidas por miembros de las fuerzas de seguridad", asegura AI. "La policía ha utilizado repetidamente porras y proyectiles de goma contra manifestantes, en actuaciones que se han saldado con heridas y mutilaciones tanto de manifestantes como de transeúntes".
"La policía actúa con total impunidad, mientras que los manifestantes pacíficos y los líderes de los movimientos sociales sufren un acoso constante y son estigmatizados, golpeados y, en ocasiones, detenidos para enfrentarse a cargos penales, encarcelamiento y multas", subraya el documento.
El informe recoge el conocido caso de Ester Quintana, quien en el marco de una manifestación celebrada en Barcelona en 2012 fue alcanzada por una pelota de goma disparada por la policía y a consecuencia de ello perdió el ojo izquierdo.
"Las autoridades españolas están avanzando en la dirección errónea. En lugar de promulgar leyes represivas, el gobierno y el Parlamento deben resvisar la legislación, las políticas y prácticas relativas a las manifestaciones para cumplir con sus obligaciones internacionales", afirma AI.
El documento fue presentado un día después del relevo del responsable de los antidisturbios de Madrid, Javier Virseda, por los fallos en el operativo durante la marcha de la Dignidad del pasado 22 de marzo en Madrid, que culminó con disturbios y 101 heridos, entre policías y manifestantes.

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