"Freedom for Pablo Hasél!"
Protest rallies across the country against the imprisonment of the rapper from Lleida
BarcelonaThe stairs of the Lesseps subway exit in Barcelona were collapsed this Tuesday evening by the crowd that gathered in the square to protest against the imprisonment of Pablo Hasél. The cries of "Freedom for Pablo Hasél!" have resounded in the Lesseps square, where thousands of people have gathered, 1,700 according to the Guardia Urbana. From the first moments of the demonstration, the music did not stop. "Welcome to Spain, you'll never be free" sang a rapper, just before a woman started singing Mesclat's Si el rei vol corona.
"What happened today shows that we don't live in a democratic state", said Mireia, who wore a Catalan independence flag on her back and carried a sign calling for Hasél's freedom. A little further on, a sign said: "Absolutely shameful". Many of those gathered used their mobile phones, both to capture the massive response to the call and to try to find each other. The atmosphere was vindictive and the crowd made it very difficult to keep a safe distance, but most people wore masks. In fact, it was one of the largest protests since the pandemic began. In addition to Barcelona, protests against Hasel's imprisonment have also been called in about fifty towns.
"Prison is not the worst place in the world for someone who dares to think for himself. We must remain determined for freedom of expression," said the president of Òmnium Cultural, Jordi Cuixart, who participated in the demonstration in Barcelona, where slogans such as "the streets will always be ours" and "against fascism, not a step back" were also chanted.
From Plaça Lesseps, protestors marched down Avinguda Riera de les Cassoles and Via Augusta. On their way, the cries of "Freedom for Pablo Hasél!" resounded around Gràcia, where neighbours contributed by banging pots and pans from their balconies. The crowd then encountered a police cordon and started firing firecrackers and hurling bottles at them. The march stopped outside the police station on Balmes street. Some demonstrators threw stones and glass and burnt rubbish containers, causing the firefighters to intervene. The riots continued, however, with some demonstrators breaking the windows of some bank offices, before riot police charged and fired rubber bullets. There have also been clashes in the demonstrations in Lleida, Girona, Vic and Valencia.