Woman Arrested after Rosary Prayer banned in Madrid

Country: Spain

Date of incident: December 1, 2023

On November 27, a woman was arrested in Madrid for praying the rosary on the streets. This comes after the Government Delegation banned the public prayer of the rosary that has been taking place in front of the headquarters of the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) during the ongoing anti-government protests.

Since November 3, thousands of people have been gathering every night in front of the PSOE headquarters on Ferraz Street in Madrid. They are protesting against the government of Pedro Sanchez and the amnesty pact he has negotiated with the Catalan separatist politicians to obtain their support in the investiture for President of the Government. In addition, since mid-November, collective rosary prayer has been organised every evening. Dozens of young people have been gathering at 7.30pm on the steps of the Parish of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Ferraz, Madrid.

The news of the order to ban the recitation of the rosary by the Madrid Government Delegation comes after more than two weeks of uninterrupted prayers every night. The justification for the ban referred to "the understanding that there was not enough space for an emergency exit and that the ordinary deadlines [to give notice of public prayer] had to be met."

The first night the police enforced the ban, a woman was arrested after returning to Ferraz from praying the rosary at another nearby location, according to okdiario. This newspaper additionally published a video of the moment when the police took the detained woman away into the patrol car, which has also spread on Twitter (X). 

On December 1st the Provincial Court of Madrid dismissed the appeal on the infringement of the right of assembly and the police have been intervening to stop people from praying the rosary.

Spanish Christian lawyer's association 'Abogados Cristianos' announced that they will defend free of charge those who are arrested for praying. Furthermore, they have filed a complaint at the Court of Instruction in Madrid against the Government Delegate, Francisco Martín (PSOE), for promoting this ban in an alleged offense of abuse of authority (Article 376 of the Spanish Penal Code) and prevarication (Article 404 of the Spanish Penal Code). Abogados Cristianos holds that the Government Delegate does not have the authority to limit a fundamental right, such as the right to religious freedom.

UPDATE: The appeal was rejected on the 9th of january. But now José Andrés Calderón has filed an appeal for protection before the Constitutional Court for the violation of religious  freedom and the right of meeting.

Sources: La GacetaInfoVaticanaHuffPost

Photo: okdiario