Reports 03/12/2022

The right to protest in the Spanish State – Red Malla 2021

Analysis of the data of Red Malla of the year 2021 on the right to protest in Spain.

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Collaborating entities

NOVACT, Irídia, APDHA, Grupo de Derechos Civiles Zaragoza 15M, entre otras vinculadas al trabajo de Defender a quien Defiende.


Serlinda Vigara, Cèlia Carbonell, Agnès Rosell i Thais Bonilla

It is important to remember that while the right to protest is not explicitly codified in major international human rights treaties, it encompasses a group of fundamental rights that safeguard the common good. Among these rights are freedom of expression, freedom of information, freedom of association, and the right to assembly.

The aforementioned rights are the pillars that ensure that people not only interact with each other (to share ideas and discuss policies, laws, or other matters of interest) but also with governments. In other words, people have a channel of access to the political sphere and can express concerns without fear of reprisals. In fact, the current democratic backsliding limits the ability of civil society to self-organize, to engage in public life, and to act as human rights defenders. This regression of civic space particularly impacts those who are most vulnerable due to the system of class, gender, and ethnic oppression.

The right to protest and the civic space that protects it are once again in question, and indeed in danger. The Red Malla observatory, a tool for systematizing and mapping cases of violations of the right to protest in Spain, launched under the umbrella of the Defender a quien Defiende platform, has documented a total of 167 cases in 2021, with 501 recorded violations. These violations include administrative sanctions, the initiation of judicial proceedings, arbitrary identifications, and the excessive use of force, among other concerning and rights-infringing actions.