PSOE and Unidas Podemos advance in decriminalizing protests in which there is no violence and intimidation

The PSOE and Unidas Podemos have agreed to an amendment to the Criminal Code (in the framework of the reform of the crime of sedition) that advances the decriminalization of non-violent behavior in social protests and demonstrations. This was explained this Friday by the president of the UP Parliamentary Group, Jaume Asens, during an appearance in Congress.

The deputy has advanced that the reform consists of eliminating from the Penal Code a heading relating to article 557 biswhich pursues conduct in social protests and demonstrations when there are no specific acts of violence, threats or looting.

Specifically, 557 of the Penal Code imposes penalties of one to six years in prison in certain cases in which a series of circumstances involving violence and intimidation occur; in a epigraph introduced by the Government of Mariano Rajoy in 2015 It is specified that “these penalties will be imposed without prejudice to those that may correspond to the specific acts of violence, threats or looting that have been carried out.” This would be the section that PSOE and Unidas Podemos propose to eliminate.

This measure comes after the advanced sedition crime reform introduced a crime of aggravated public disorder a few weeks ago that could put peaceful protest at risk; With this amendment it is sought, they advance from United We Can, “to protect and shield that right.”

“This reform follows the trail of the previous one that we did that decriminalized the prosecution of information pickets, and comes to dismantle a substantial part of the reform of the Penal Code made by Gallardón“, Jaume Asens explained at a press conference.

The president of the UP group has pointed out that this may not be the only reform that advances in the decriminalization of peaceful protest, and has assured that the PSOE could open up to support other “tweaks” in this matter.

The deputy from Unidas Podemos has also referred to the rest of the amendments agreed with the Socialists to reform the Criminal Code before the end of the year: the reduction of the majorities necessary to renew the Constitutional Court; the introduction of a new crime of illicit enrichment to modify embezzlement; the transfer to the Penal Code of sanctions for companies that fail to comply with labor legislation; and a reform so that public holidays are non-working days for procedural purposes so that the legal profession and other trades can access conciliation on these days.

“We reached the end of the year and soon we started a new political cycle and we did not want to end this year with pending homework. We have made a run to reach a series of important pending file agreements that affect dysfunctional elements of the legal system,” said Asens.

Asens, and the spokesman for United We Can in the Lower House, Pablo Echenique, have been asked about the ERC amendment to reform the crime of embezzlement. As they have explained, their group already has the proposal and it is being studied by the legal team.

Echenique has clarified that her group would be willing to support it, but has marked a clear red line: United We Can not support it if it benefits accused, accused or convicted of corruption. Asens has also explained that the amendment of the Republican Group would not affect the case of the former president of the Junta de Andalucía, José Antonio Griñán, since in his case, the deputy has specified, “there was an enrichment of third parties through a clientelist network “.

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