Several weeks ago PIOC was outside the town hall building in Playa Flamenca, in the far corner, well away from the building so as not to cause an obstruction, distributing forms to the expats about registering to vote.
Not long afterwards the local police and the Guardia Civil turned up and forcibly removed us from the area. We can only guess somebody must have contacted the police, even though we have no evidence to who they were.
After writing to the council several times for an explanation and to let them know the law saying that we would be back, it comes as no surprise, we never got a reply, which is standard practice for the Orihuela town hall.
PIOC also spoke to the local police by email and in person at the emergency centre, but the impression we got is that they did not know the law as well as they should.
Under Article 21 of the Spanish Constitution 1988 Article 21.1 and 21.2 of the Spanish Constitution, it recognises the right to meet peacefully. To use this right, it will not need previous authorisation, although in cases of public areas where there are people moving around, it is best to communicate the meeting to the authorities who will only prohibit it when there is a real danger to people.
In reality it is only needed when it could happen in an area where it can affect the people moving around and there are more than 20 or 25 people. The Law 34/1988 about publicity and its regulation state that a political party when publicising its message in a public place is not consider publicity.
We prepared a copy of the Constitution for when we go back to the town hall building, should the police and Guardia turn up again and try to evict PIOC from a lawful activity, we were prepared as we had a copy at hand to present to them, but, what has happened now, barricades have been erected around the public area outside the building, denying not just PIOC, but, anybody else from the area, whether they are individuals, another political party or an association engaging in a lawful act of freedom of speech which is our democratic right.
PIOC – Partido Independencia Orihuela Costa