Pablo Hasel: Barcelona sees sixth night of violent protests over jailed rapper

Monday 22nd February 2021 10:15 GMT

The musician was arrested by anti-riot police on Tuesday following a 24-hour stand-off in a university with dozens of supporters to avoid prison over what he calls an issue of free speech.

He was given nine months behind bars for insulting the Spanish monarchy and praising terrorist violence in his music and also on his Twitter account.

As on previous days, Sunday began peacefully, with graffiti artists showing their solidarity with Hasel by painting a mural critical of Spain's King Felipe VI and his father, Juan Carlos.

But as soon as darkness fell, tensions grew as protesters mostly dressed in dark clothes marched through the city centre to the National Police headquarters.

Youths began hurling objects including rocks, bottles, rubbish, firecrackers and even a wheelie bin at officers - some in riot gear.

After half an hour, Catalan police moved in supported by vans to clear the area.

Shops in Barcelona's city centre were targeted by vandals who broke windows but there appeared to be no repeat of the looting reported on Saturday.

More than 100 people, including seven on Sunday, have been arrested following the clashes with police since Hasel was arrested.

One police officer suffered minor injuries at the weekend, El Pais reported.

Catalan police said they made dozens of arrests on Saturday in Barcelona and other nearby towns after rioters smashed store windows and engaged in running battles with officers.

Other protests across Spain, including the capital Madrid, remained mostly peaceful.

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