The PP of Pablo Casado has aligned itself with the harshest criticisms of the police unions to the attempt by the Government of the PSOE and United We Can to change and soften some aspects of the call gag law, approved by the Executive of the PP in 2015. The popular leader, Pablo Casado, met this Tuesday in Congress with 17 representatives of associations from different police forces that oppose the reform. And he signed all their complaints, confirmed the presence of the main opposition party in two upcoming street demonstrations against these changes (November 24 and 27) and even promised that if the government initiative goes ahead, he will appeal it to the Constitutional Court.
The PP spokesperson in Congress, Cuca Gamarra, who escorted Casado in the meeting, appeared later to explain that her party rejects those modifications to the Citizen Security law because they “advocate for impunity and unprotect the citizens”. Casado clarified in a tweet that the PP will demonstrate with the representatives of the police and the Civil Guard against this new project: “It is a red line that attacks the defenders of freedom and security.” The unions asked Casado that the PP not name this norm gag law. Casado promised that if he comes to the government he will repeal it and improve the current citizen security law.
We will demonstrate with representatives of @police and @Civil Guard to reject the reform of the Security Law.
If it is approved, we will appeal to the Constitutional Court and as soon as we govern we will repeal it.
It is a red line to attack the defenders of freedom and security. pic.twitter.com/yB3tBWKDCY
– Pablo Casado Blanco (@pablocasado_) November 16, 2021
After the meeting, Gamarra completed such alarmist messages against the new project with an interpretation of why the Executive of the PSOE and Podemos now intends to execute that promise that had already been in its Government agreement for two years: “They want to tie themselves politically and have a stage to heat the streets for the return to the opposition when the citizens return to them ”.
Among the 39 aspects that the PP has amended to this project, it stands out that it is now intended that it is not necessary to communicate the organization of a demonstration in the streets (something that would only happen in exceptional, minor cases, and when it does not obstruct the public thoroughfare) or the possible lack of protection of the agents if images of him are disseminated in a protest. They would also promote changes to avoid Welcome or tributes to ETA members upon their release from prisons.
And in justification of their position, they point out that their gag law was “necessary, convenient and timely”, as well as “an advance for coexistence” and argue that it responded to a demand from the agents to “reinforce democracy” in a social moment very convulsed. The PP reports that in 2020 the Constitutional Law endorsed a large part of the legality of that norm.
No to rubber balls
From the Government, the PSOE and United We can deny that the objective of these legal adjustments (a dozen amendments already agreed between the two partners and also negotiated with other parties, such as the PNV) is neither to reduce the authority of the police agents, nor subtract coercive measures in their actions (by eliminating the use of rubber balls) or expose them more. The Podemos negotiator, Enrique Santiago, specified on Tuesday about the dissemination of images of police officers in demonstrations that it is something that the media cannot be prohibited in a democratic society and assured that in those cases the commitment is that their images are emit blurred.
According to its authors, the new wording of the norm seeks to delimit much better the rights of the protesters and put an end to some excesses of the PP law, such as detention for six hours without justification – now it would pass to two hours – the limitations to record a protest, the use of aggressive anti-riot equipment or the presumption of total veracity of the police report.
One of the most sensitive issues in the demonstrations occurs with people who are detained and refuse to identify themselves. The PP rule allowed a detention of up to six hours in the police station, which this new wording reduces to two hours, and leaves at six only in very exceptional and justified cases. One of the changes that has bothered union representatives the most is that when the new law comes into force they would have the obligation to return these protesters to the place where they were held, and not leave them in police stations that may be miles away. Police unions have regretted that they are treated as if they were taxi drivers.
The future law, when it enters into force, limits the behavior of the agents in the searches to avoid as much as possible that the detainees may be stripped or denigrated. The Podemos negotiator has made it very clear these days that the objective of this project in a democratic and advanced country like Spain is to better regulate these actions to avoid excesses, to support the police with more preventive actions and more technological means, but also to protect the rights of protesters. And he gave as an example the sanctions that were applied with the gag law to pensioners for not complying exactly with the authorized routes in their protests or the fines imposed on citizens who improvised demonstrations in their day against the La Manada sentence.