It is perhaps fitting that I was in Barcelona — a city intimately associated withGeorge Orwell’s participation in the Spanish Civil War — when I first learned of Spain’s forthcoming Citizens’ Security Law. A decidedly Orwellian item, it proposes fines of up to 30,000 euros ($41,000) for “offensive” slogans against the country and up to 600,000 euros ($824,000) for unauthorized street protests.
I arrived in Barcelona on March 29. Thousands of people — students, trade unionists, pensioners — were marching against this law and other oppressive measures that the Spanish government is currently pursuing. These include a reinstatement of archaic abortion regulations and the continuation of the austerity program, conceived after the 2008 financial crisis to meet the European Union’s demands, that has ever since been the subject of protests nationwide. (The crisis has intensified calls for secession from Spain in the region of Catalonia and its capital Barcelona — an effort that could presumably also be considered “offensive” to the country.) READ MORE AT AL JAZEERA AMERICA.