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At least 109 arrested as protests over jailing of rapper for insulting Spanish monarchy continue

AT LEAST 109 people have been arrested in Barcelona in a week of demonstrations over the jailing of rapper Pablo Hasel for glorifying terrorism and insulting the Spanish crown with his anti-monarchy lyrics.

Anger has grown in Catalonia and beyond since police swooped on Mr Hasel, who had taken refuge at Lleida University, where he had barricaded himself in with supporters last Tuesday.

Protests have continued for seven consecutive nights and have led to clashes with the Mossos d’Esquadra, the local police in the semi-autonomous Catalan region.

One protester is reported to have lost an eye as police opened fire on the crowds with rubber bullets. Shops have been looted and containers set ablaze.

Catalan Interior Minister Miquel Samper has condemned the protesters for “acts of pure vandalism.”

Mr Hasel was given nine months behind bars for insulting the Spanish monarchy and praising terrorist violence in his music and on his Twitter account. 

But the rapper remained defiant as he was taken to Ponent prison last Tuesday, shouting: “They will never silence us — death to the fascist state.”

Film director Pedro Almodovar and Hollywood actor Javier Bardem are among more than 200 artists who have signed a petition against the sentence.

Spain is currently reviewing its laws on so-called “crimes of expression.”

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