Basque punk rock legend Evaristo Páramos, current singer of the group Gatillazo and long-time front man of La Polla Records, was led away and issued with a complaint by Spain's Civil Guard after a festival concert on Friday in the Andalusian town of Jerez.
After initial reports that the veteran musician had been arrested for the lyrics of his anti-establishment songs, the paramilitary Civil Guard force clarified in a tweet that he was being charged for calling the police "sons of bitches" on stage.
#QueremosAclarar— Guardia Civil
No se ha producido ninguna "detención" ni "retención" del cantante #Evaristo Páramos, símplemente se le comunicó una denuncia
El motivo no han sido las letras de sus canciones, sino su grito de "policías, sois unos hijos de puta" tras la actuación de su grupo pic.twitter.com/P1ec3mvlPC
Translation: There has been no "arrest" or "detention" of the singer Evaristo Páramos, simply he was told that a complaint had been made against him. The reason was not the lyrics of his songs, but rather his cry of "police, you are sons of bitches" during his group's performance. - Civil Guard
The incident was the latest development in a trend for increasing repression of artistic freedom of expression in the Spanish state. Last week, Mallorcan rapper Valtònyc fled to Belgium after being sentenced to over three years in prison by a Spanish court for lyrics that were found to insult royalty, glorify terrorism and make threats against an individual.
The noisy guitar band which Evaristo Páramos is most famous for, La Polla Records, formed in 1979, playing under a classic punk ethic, with lyrics that were strongly political and anti-establishment. The group defied taboos - starting with the band name itself, as la polla is Spanish for "cock". Páramos' current band Gatillazo continues in a similar line.
One of the concert goers at the Festival Primavera Trompetera where Gatillazo had played published images of the moment when the singer was escorted away by members of the paramilitary Civil Guard:
Reactions from music fans have been widespread, but as well, many politicians outside the conservative Spanish establishment have criticised the Civil Guard's latest action. The Basque independence party EH Bildu declared its solidarity with the artist in a tweet saying that in the Spanish state, there is no freedom of expression:
En el Estado español no existe la libertad de expresión. Nos solidarizamos con Evaristo, que ha sido detenido y denunciado, y con todos los artistas que están bajo amenaza por criticar el sistema mediante sus canciones, libros y otras expresiones artísticas #LibertadDeExpresión pic.twitter.com/3khXf8KpmV — EH Bildu (@ehbildu) 27 of May 2018
Translation: In the Spanish state, freedom of expression does not exist. We stand in solidarity with Evaristo, who has been arrested and charged, and with all artists who are being threatened for criticising the system through their songs, books and other artistic expressions. #FreedomOfExpression - EH Bildu