Fines of 124,000 euros for the ring-leaders of the protest in Palma last week against the Balearic government´s lockdown of bars and restaurants. The protest had been deemed illegal by the Balearic government and the Central Government Delegate in Palma but still went ahead. Now, some of the fines are for public order offences; it is alleged that one person armed with a megaphone encouraged protesters to attack police.
If this is the case then the fine is valid but I do not feel that people who were exercising their democratic right to protest should be penalised especially if they were not breaking the law. Yes, it could be argued that they were breaking the law because the protest march had been termed “illegal” but at the end of day, I would say that it was a rather “run of the mill protest” and they didn´t appear to be any serious incidents. Rather than just declaring the protect march illegal, police and local officials should have sat down with the organisers and worked out a plan.
I know that we are living in exceptional times but we still should have the right to peaceful protest even if it means social distancing and following all the other coronavirus curbs. Another demonstration has been called for Friday and I sincerely hope that there is an ongoing dialogue between police and organisers. First of all there is an important public safety issue and secondly we should be able to protest. Challenging times but democracy should come first.