Caught by the fuzz: Spain’s ‘muzzle law’ sees woman fined over ‘All Cats Are Beautiful’ bag (PHOTOS)
Belén Lobeto claims that Spanish cops policing the Copa del Rey soccer final between Barcelona and Sevilla rounded on her for carrying a bag emblazoned ‘All Cats Are Beautiful,’ along with an acronym ‘A.C.A.B’.
For denizens of the punk scene and anarchists, A.C.A.B is an anti-police graffiti tag and tattoo believed to have originated in the UK during the 1970s.
Spanish police appear to have taken umbrage with Lobeto’s fashion statement because in its original form A.C.A.B. stands for: ‘All Cops Are B******ds’.
Indeed, Lobeto’s rap sheet includes the phrase, purportedly written in English by the police.
In a Facebook post, a shocked Lobeto described how she was approached near the Vicente Calderón stadium on Sunday and told by police that her feline-friendly bag was against the law.
“All of a sudden two officers of the law ran after me to ask me for ID and informed me that they were going to fine me for wearing this bag,” Lobeto posted.
Lobeto says she will now appeal the sanction, which El País reports could result in a fine of up to €600.
She added: “Bloody sick of [this] country. Well, yes, all cats are beautiful. And anyone who says otherwise is lying.”
According to El País, the fine falls under the Public Safety Act - a much-maligned 2014 addition to Spanish law which has been dubbed a ‘gagging law’ because of its restrictions on freedom of expression.
Civil liberties group Rights International Spain has labeled the legislation a ‘muzzle law’ restricting the right to popular protest.
“The reform… includes sanctions for actions which represent the exercise of the right to freedom of expression. An individual, for example, can be fined for [s]porting an Anonymous mask, or simply a white mask, during a spontaneous demonstration against activities that pollute the environment,” the group warned prior the bill’s enactment.
Amnesty International has also criticised the Act, stating that it gives greater power to security forces while eroding rights of citizens and journalists.