Spanish police protest 'gag law' reform

Spanish police protest 'gag law' reform

The proposed reform concerns a so-called 'gag law' passed in 2015
The proposed reform concerns a so-called 'gag law' passed in 2015

MADRID - Thousands of Spanish police took to the streets of Madrid on Saturday, angered by a bid to scrap a controversial law that bans unauthorised use of police images if it puts them in danger.

An estimated 4,000 demonstrators rallied alongside right-wing politicians outside the Congress of Deputies, where the proposed reform is under consideration.

The bill from left wing parties concerns a so-called "gag law" passed in 2015 under the previous right-wing administration.

Under the current law, the unauthorised use of images of police officers that could endanger their safety is a serious offence, carrying the risk of fines between 600 and 10,400 euros (between $640 and $11,075).

The demonstrators argue the proposed reform could remove protection for police and security forces and endanger public security.

"When my colleagues are filmed and the videos are manipulated and distorted on social media and go viral, it can prove fatal for their personal lives," said Miguel Gomez, president of Jusapol, the group that called the rally.

The umbrella organisation brings together police and Guardia Civil unions.

Under the banner "this law puts us all in danger", the trade unionists marched with leaders of the right-wing People's Party, the main opposition, as well as the far-right party Vox.

The proposed reform, championed by allies of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez's Socialist government, follows a Constitutional Court ruling, which said that requiring authorisation to use images of police was "unconstitutional" because it amounted to "prior censorship".

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