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<nettime> Spanish woman fined â800 for posting picture of police car parked illegally

Stephen Burgen in Barcelona
Sunday 16 August 2015 12.09 BST
Last modified on Monday 17 August 2015 00.00 BST

A Spanish woman has been fined â800 (Â570) under the countryâs
controversial new gagging law for posting a photograph of a police car
parked illegally in a disabled bay.

The unnamed woman, a resident of Petrer in Alicante, south-east Spain,
posted the photo on her Facebook page with the comment âPark where you
bloody well please and you wonât even be finedâ.

The police tracked her down within 48 hours and fined her.

The Citizens Security Law, popularly known as the gagging law and which
came into force on 1 July, prohibits âthe unauthorised use of images of
police officers that might jeopardise their or their familyâs safety or
that of protected facilities or police operationsâ.

Amnesty International condemned the law, saying that photographing
police was vital in cases when excessive force had been used. Fines
under this section of the law range from â600 to â30,000.

Fernando Portillo, a spokesman for the local police, said the officers
had parked in the disabled bay because they had been called to deal with
an incident of vandalism in a nearby park. A rapid response is essential
if they are to catch the offenders âin flagrantiâ, he told local media,
adding that in an emergency the police park where they can.

Asked how the photo had put the police at risk, he said the officers
felt the woman had impugned their honour by posting the picture and
referred the incident to the town hall authorities. âWe would have
preferred a different solution but they have the legal right to impose
the fine,â Portillo said.

Last month two couples in CÃrdoba were reportedly fined â300 each for
consuming alcohol in a public place, although they claimed to have had
only soft drinks and a pizza.

The gagging law also prohibits demonstrations in the vicinity of
parliament or the senate, trying to prevent an eviction or actions of
passive resistance such as sit-down protests in the street. Offenders
face fines of up to â600,000.

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