21st April 2015
By Carolanne Wright
Contributing Writer for Wake Up World
“They want to silence us … but nevertheless, here we are,” declares NoSomosDelito (We Are Not Crime), a grassroots activist group formed as a protest against Spain’s new draconian anti-free speech law.
Seemingly just another bid for liberty that’s so commonplace in today’s volatile political arena, this group has an exceptionally unique feature: the protestors out on the street aren’t real, they’re holograms.
Silencing FreedomUnder the Protection of Citizens’ Security Bill, as well as the Penal Code Reform and Anti-Terror Pact in Spain, protesters are criminalized and the freedom of average citizens has become severely restricted.
Passing in the lower house of parliament last December, the law gives sweeping powers to the establishment. This Orwellian nightmare makes it illegal to protest outside government buildings or to refuse providing identification. Insulting police officers is forbidden as well. Added into the bargain is a hefty €600 fine slapped onto to anyone who shows lack of respect towards the authorities, while filming or photographing police officers (where they could be compromised) will invite fines up to €30,000. The same for demonstrating in front of Congress or protesting against evictions.
From this point forward, the government can forbid any protest that it fears would cause disruption. If you wish to protest publicly, you will now need to seek permission from those in power. And if you don’t secure this authorization for protests outside buildings that provide basic services to the public, you could be liable for fines up to €600,000. This includes everything from hospitals to universities. Other punishments involve having permits or licenses revoked, while factory’s, shops or establishments can be shutdown for upwards of two years.
The new Penal Code allows for those who spread protest messages or peacefully resist in protest to be sent to prison for 3 months or more.
Many feel these laws are absolutely unconstitutional and hurl Spain backwards into the oppressive era of Franco’s dictatorship.
However, if you think this is an isolated case, think again. The United States passed similar legislation in 2012 under the Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act, which classifies any protest that might impede or disrupt the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions” a federal offense, punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Moreover, protestors are relegated to “free speech zones.” The problem is that these zones can be a half-mile away from the event, person, business or institution the activists have come to speak out against, essentially demoting the protesters to pointless obscurity.
Thinking Outside The BoxBut the people of Spain refuse to be coerced. Instead, they found a novel solution for their dilemma. “If you are a person you can not express yourself freely, you can only do that here if you become a hologram,” asserts a spokesman for NoSomosDelito. The organization recognized a need to carry out a special type of rally that wouldn’t hinder their cause.
Thousands from around the globe participated in the protest, yet arrests were impossible because no one physically attended. The movement invited individuals to help support their cause by writing text messages, leaving a voicemail or transforming themselves into a hologram via webcam. The holograms were then projected outside the Spanish parliament building in Madrid as a fluid, hour-long march of vocal (and angry) protestors.
Concerned citizen Albert Portabella agrees. He feels the only reason for this legislation is “because they want you quiet, scared, and swallowing without protesting.”“The Protection of Citizens’ Security Bill, alongside the Penal Code Reform and the Anti-terror Pact, constitutes an attack on constitutional rights such as freedom of speech, assembly, and expression.
“Its objective is not to “guarantee citizens’ safety”, as the government states, but to repress the freedom of peaceful assembly against the raising wave of critical protests,” asserts the NoSomosDelito website.
Those involved with NoSomosDelito find this unacceptable:
To become involved and help turn around this freedom-stripping state of affairs, visit Holograms For Freedom and make your voice heard.“We will defend our right to protest, protesting. We will not allow for practices best suited for a dictatorship to be brought back. We will continue to march on the streets to state that we do not want to live gagged, that we are not afraid, and that we are not crime. Because we know that together we can stop them.”
World’s First Hologram Protest Against Gag Laws