The Spanish government is planning to criminalise anyone using the internet to organise street protests. Retweeting information on an event considered violent would be liable to 2 years imprisonment.
The Spanish government intends to pass a reform of the Penal Code, criminalising the organisation of street protests that "seriously disturb the public peace" by any kind of media, including online social networks such as Facebook.
The bill could actually lead to the criminalisation of online information sharing. The reaction of Spanish internet users has produced Twitter campaigns such as #SoyCriminal (I am a Criminal) and #HolaDictatura (Hello Dictatorship). The Spanish government may now get exactly the opposite of their intentions – more public demonstrations organised online.
The legal moves follow increased street violence in Spanish cities, particularly in Barcelona where "anti-capitalist" protesters were accused of inciting tensions during last month's general strike. Anti-government groups have made comparisons with the fascist dictatorship of General Franco.
In a further development, the Catalan government is planning to put pictures of protestors from the general strike on a website called 'Contra la violencia urbana' (Against urban violence), using footage from police cameras and the media. The website encourages people to report anyone they recognise.
Spanish unemployment has hit a new record high as the number of unemployed reached 5,639,500 at the end of March, with the unemployment rate hitting 24.4%, according to the national statistics agency.