The Madrid protest was held on Saturday evening and started at the Atocha Railway Station, where demonstrators held slogans calling for the release of Hasel and for defending people’s rights and freedoms.
According to El Mundo, about 1,000 law enforcement officers were deployed in central Madrid on Saturday, with a heavy police presence seen on Cibeles Square.
On Saturday, protests in support of Hasel were held in other Spanish cities. In Barcelona, around 250 people reportedly gathered for a demonstration. No incidents were reported.
🔴🎥 Thousands demonstrate in Madrid in support of Catalan rapper Pablo Hasél. pic.twitter.com/Aud61FHlQx— Josep Goded (@josepgoded) March 20, 2021
🔴🎥 Hundreds demonstrate in Barcelona in support of Catalan rapper Pablo Hásel. pic.twitter.com/NqGJjWpiMf— Josep Goded (@josepgoded) March 20, 2021
Protests began in Spain in mid-February, after the arrest of Catalan rapper Pablo Hasel. In 2018, Hasel was sentenced to nine months in prison for glorifying terrorism and slandering the Spanish monarchy in more than 60 tweets published between 2014 and 2016, as well as in one of his songs posted on YouTube. The rapper was supposed to voluntarily report to prison but refused to do so. He was arrested on February 16.
Over a hundred people have been injured during ongoing protests in Spain, including dozens of law enforcement officers.