Welcome to the Police State
Eduardo Díaz described his local police force as "slackers" on Facebook and a few hours later, they turned up on his doorstep and fined him.
(London Telegraph) - The first known individual to fall foul of Spain’s controversial new “gag law” has spoken out against what he sees as the repression of free speech after he received a fine for describing his local police force as "slackers" on Facebook.
Eduardo Díaz, a 27-year-old salesman from Tenerife, told the newspaper El Mundo that the comment he posted on his mayor’s Facebook page about the decision to provide the local police force with a new and larger headquarters was “just a criticism, not an insult. I get the impression that they are trying to silence the voice of critical citizens”.
Spain’s citizens’ safety law came into effect on July 1 after the conservative Popular Party (PP) government used its parliamentary majority to pass the legislation in the face of harsh criticism from other parties and civil society groups.
The law allows for fines of up to €600,000 (£424,000) for a variety of public order offences, such as unlicensed demonstrations outside a parliament building, inciting an unauthorised protest online and showing disrespect to the police.
In his July 22 Facebook comment, Mr Díaz criticised the use of public resources on a brand new police station in the town of Güímar, stating that the local force was a “pack of slackers”. But local police officers wasted no time in reacting, ringing Mr Díaz’s doorbell six hours later to present him with the notification of a fine which will be set at between €100 and €600.
“I do not agree with insulting the police and would never show them disrespect. But, as a citizen who pays his taxes, I believe that I have the right to express my opinion over a government decision,” said Mr Díaz, who added that he will continue to criticise the authorities on social media.
|“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” |
― George Orwell