In Spain there have been violent protests against the arrest of the rapper Pablo Hasél for the fifth consecutive night. During riots in Barcelona, numerous shops in the city center were looted, barricades set on fire and historic buildings damaged, the Catalan police announced on Sunday. Police arrested 38 people across Catalonia. There were also protests in the capital, Madrid, and in other Spanish cities.
Several thousand people gathered in Barcelona on Saturday evening to protest Hasél’s arrest. When the protesters moved to the police headquarters, clashes with the police broke out. Protesters threw bottles, cans and firecrackers at police officers.
Other protesters broke into shops on Passeig de Gracia and ransacked Nike, Versace, Tommy Hilfiger, Hugo Boss and Diesel stores. According to the police, the Barcelona Stock Exchange and the Art Nouveau building Palau de la Música Catalana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, were also damaged.
In Madrid, around 400 people took to the streets against Hasél’s arrest on Saturday. Several police vans were parked on Gran Vía, the Spanish capital’s main shopping street, and a police helicopter circled over the demonstrators.
According to Spanish media reports, several hundred people took to the streets in Málaga, Córdoba and Seville. There were minor protests in Santander and Logroño.
Prison sentence not started
Hasél was arrested on Tuesday for failing to serve a nine-month prison sentence for insulting the Spanish royal family and state institutions. On Thursday, the 32-year-old was sentenced to another two and a half years in prison for allegedly threatening a witness in a trial against two police officers.
There have been protests every evening in Spain since Tuesday. They began in Hasél’s native Catalonia, but have since expanded to Madrid and other cities. There have been several clashes between demonstrators and the police. In total, more than a hundred people have been arrested, 95 in Catalonia alone.