The very strong tension does not fall in Barcelona. For the sixth consecutive night, a demonstration in favor of the imprisoned rapper Pablo Hasél was held there on Sunday. It again degenerated into clashes with the police. This event, however, gathered fewer people than the previous ones.
To cries of “Freedom for Pablo Hasél”, hundreds of people first gathered in front of Sants station, heavily guarded by riot troops of the Catalan police, the Mossos d’Esquadra. The protesters then marched towards the center of the Catalan capital, where some protesters started throwing projectiles at the police.
On the famous avenue de Ramblas, demonstrators erected barricades with street furniture and threw objects at the police. At least five people were arrested after smashing a shop window, the Mossos said.
Since Tuesday, the streets of Spain’s second city have been the scene of violent clashes between demonstrators and police, with barricades, bins set on fire and destruction. On the night of Saturday to Sunday, shops were looted and damage was done to iconic buildings in Barcelona, such as the Palace of Music. In total, since the protests began on Tuesday, 95 people have been arrested across Catalonia, according to the authorities.
Pablo Hasél, 32, was sentenced to nine months in prison for apologizing for terrorism, for having in a tweet called King Juan Carlos I a “mafioso”, praised people involved in attacks and accused the police of ‘killing and torturing migrants and protesters. His arrest revived the debate on freedom of expression in Spain and reinforced the differences within the government coalition, between the Socialists of President Pedro Sanchez and the Podemos party (radical left), which supports the demonstrations.