Prosecutors ordered to target doorstep anti-eviction protestors

‘Escraches’ not illegal, say judicial experts

The attorney general has ordered prosecutors across Spain to begin collecting data on protestors who have been harassing and heckling elected officials on their personal time, including those who hold rallies outside their homes.

The office of Eduardo Torres-Dulce said it was studying whether criminal charges can be filed against participants in these protests, which are known as escraches.

In an April 4 memo obtained by EL PAÍS, Torres-Dulce announced to all prosecutors across Spain that the "Attorney General's Office will be conducting an analysis on the relevant criminal action that can be taken," and asked them to inform his office of all such demonstrations that take place in their jurisdictions.

In recent weeks, protestors — mostly those from the Mortgage Victims Platform (PAH) — have been holding noisy demonstrations outside the homes of lawmakers and government officials.

One of these escrache protests — a term that is used in Spain, Uruguay and Argentina — was recently held outside the home of Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saénz de Santamaría. No one has yet been arrested during these noisy demonstrations.

A number of judicial associations have said that these demonstrators are not committing any crime under current Spanish law.

But in some cases, ruling Popular Party (PP) lawmakers have announced legal action against the escraches, alleging that they have been verbally assaulted and threatened by them on the street.

 

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