A video of Spanish police violently beating up a group of women during a demonstration has gone viral. The women were protesting a draft bill that restricts the right to abort, only allowing the procedure in cases of rape and when there is a health risk.
The video, released by the Periodismo Humano news site, following the protest on Friday, has taken YouTube by storm, racking up over 300,000 views over the weekend. The footage shows members of the activist group ‘We decide’ talking to officers after the protest. Shouting can be heard and then officers, seemingly unprovoked, knock down a number of women and beat them with their truncheons.
The police officers wrestle the individuals to the ground before cuffing them and forcing them into a police vehicle. After being attacked by one of the officers, one of the women shouts: “son of a b…, don’t lay another finger on me!” prompting the police officer to hit her in the stomach and push her to the ground.
While being led away, one of the detained, who has her arms drawn up behind her back screams out in pain that the police are “breaking my arms”.
Sources within the Spanish police told news agency EFE that the three individuals arrested following the protest were brought in on charges of civil disobedience, resisting arrest and assaulting a member of law enforcement.
The video triggered a sharp reaction on social media, amid accusations of “police brutality, intimidation tactics and repression” on Twitter.
The protest itself was peaceful, attracting over 500 supporters, most of whom were women, to demonstrate against a draft bill stipulating a reform to the current Spanish abortion law. The demonstrators called for the resignation of Minister of Justice, Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon, and the withdrawal of the draft bill.
The bill has not been approved by parliament, but has received majority support from Spain’s ruling political party, The People’s Party.
The new legislation would restrict women’s right to abort, only allowing the procedure in cases of rape and when there is a serious threat to health. Currently, Spanish law allows women to abort without any restrictions up to 14 weeks into pregnancy
In addition, minors would be required to get consent from their parents to abort, something that was abolished in Spain in 2010.
The government has said it believes the current law is too liberal and the new bill would provide “defense both for the protection of the life of the unborn child and women's rights”.
Rights groups have slammed the bill as unnecessary. Under the current law the number of abortions in Spain decreased by 5 percent in 2012, according to statistics released by the Health Ministry.
Gynecologist and spokesperson for the group ‘We decide,’ Isabel Serrano told RT’s Spanish sister channel, Actualidad RT, that the draft bill was an “enormous set-back” and takes Spain out of the European context.
Serrano went on to say that the bill will not reduce abortion rates; instead, women are likely to carry out the procedure “illegally” and in “much worse conditions”.