Barcelona rocked by fifth night of unrest following imprisonment of rapper

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Protesters threw bottles at police, torched containers and destroyed shops in Barcelona on Saturday on a fifth night of clashes after a rapper was jailed for glorifying terrorism and insulting royalty in his songs.

Protesters threw bottles at police, torched containers and destroyed shops in Barcelona on Saturday on a fifth night of clashes after a rapper was jailed for glorifying terrorism and insulting royalty in his songs.

The nine-month sentence of Pablo Hasel, known for his harsh raps against the establishment, has sparked a debate over free speech in Spain as well as protests that have at times turned violent.

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Protesters threw projectiles and flares at the police, who fired foam bullets to disperse the crowd, Mossos d’Esquadra, the Catalan regional police force, said on Twitter.

About 6,000 protesters gathered in the town, local police said.

Protesters attacked shops in Barcelona’s most prestigious shopping street, Passeig de Gracia, while El Pais newspaper reported that others smashed the windows of the iconic Palau de la Musica concert hall.

Nine people were arrested in Catalonia, regional police said, including three minors.

Some have been arrested for looting shops in Barcelona, ​​local police said.

Nine people were injured, two of whom were taken to hospital, police said.

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A protest in Madrid was peaceful, but in the northern cities of Pamplona and Lleida, police charged the protesters.

Previously, Socialist Party President Cristina Narbona condemned the violence that marked the protests over the past four nights.

“We reiterate our strongest condemnation of violence which cannot be justified as a defense of freedom of expression,” she said.

Officials said four people were injured in Barcelona on Friday after protesters shelled police with projectiles, attacked two banks and burned containers. The protesters caused 128,000 euros ($ 156,000) in damage, the city council said.

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More than 60 people have been arrested across Catalonia, police said. A woman has lost an eye in clashes in Barcelona, ​​triggering calls from politicians to investigate police tactics.

Oscar-winning actor Javier Bardem was among the artists, celebrities and politicians who called for a change in the law on free speech. The Spanish government announced last week that it would abolish prison sentences for freedom of expression offenses.

(REUTERS)

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