This video footage has been released by the group "Periodismo Humano." It shows unarmed women, protesting in favor of abortion in front of the Ministry of Justice in Madrid, being beaten and knocked to the ground by police batons.
A draft law has been introduced in Spain to restrict access to abortions in the country. A group called "We Decide" demonstrated in front of the Ministry of Justice, calling for the resignation of Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz- Gallardón and for the draft law to be dropped.
The new bill has been fiercely criticized by opponents, including the group "We Decide". They claim that this legislation will lead to an increase in the number of clandestine (and often dangerous) abortions, and that it will take the country back to the 1980's. They say the legislation prohibits all abortions except in cases where a pregnancy is due to rape or when giving birth puts the mother's life at risk.
Initially the demonstration by the approximately 500 unarmed and peaceful protesters passed with no incident on Friday. However, clashes occurred in Plaza Jacinto Benavente and the video shows police striking the unarmed women with batons, prior to arresting them.
While initially peaceful, in the video shouting can be heard, which leads to police apparently pouncing on to the protesters, causing a number of confrontations. The police officers then grab the women, striking them with batons, and knocking them down.
One woman can be heard yelling "Son of a bitch, don’t touch me,” before she was hit with a baton by the officers.
According to the Spanish language version of The Huffington Post, police sources reported arresting three women for disobedience, resistances and also for assault on a law enforcement officer.
Barcelona also saw protests against the new draft legislation, which is expected to be passed shortly.