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Catalonia strengthens Security in the face of Protests for the Jailed Rapper

Catalan police on Wednesday tightened security across the Spanish region, preparing for further protests after riots that erupted on Tuesday over the arrest of a rapper accused of promoting terrorism and insulting the royalty in their songs.

Pablo Hasel, known for his radical opinions, had missed last Friday the deadline to surrender to the authorities voluntarily to serve a sentence of nine months in jail issued in 2018, a sentence that caused a great stir in Spain and led the Government to announce that it would make the laws on freedom of expression less restrictive.

On Tuesday, riot police stormed a building at the University of Lleida, where Hasel had barricaded himself with several supporters. With his arrest, concentrations and riots broke out in Barcelona and other Catalan cities.

Some protesters set rubbish bins on fire, looted shops and clashed with the police, who used batons and rubber balls on several occasions.

Police detained 18 people, while 55 were injured, including 25 officers, according to authorities.

Organizers of the protest used social media to call for new rallies across Spain on Wednesday night to demand Hasel’s release.

A source from Catalonia’s interior department said police had reinforced “sensitive areas” to prevent further disturbances, but did not want to give further details.

During a press conference, the head of the Interior of the region, Miquel Sàmper, called on the protesters to gather peacefully.

However, a police source said there were no plans to tighten security across the country for the protests.

Ben Oakley
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