'Shame, shame': Protests erupt across Spain after release of 'The Wolf Pack'
June 23 at 11:30 AM
Protests have erupted across Spain after the release of âThe Wolf Pack,â a group of five men who sexually assaulted an 18-year-old girl in 2016 and filmed clips of the incident that they shared in a WhatsApp group.
On Friday, thousands lined up shoulder-to-shoulder in front of the Ministry of Justice in the countryâs capital, Madrid, wielding signs and singing, âvergÃ¼enza, vergÃ¼enza,â â" the Spanish word for âshame.â In Pamplona, where the assault occurred, more than 3,000 people gathered outside the city hall, CNN reported. And at other protests in Barcelona, Valencia, Alicante and Santiago de Compostela, Spaniards were seen burning pictures of the five men and chanting, âItâs not abuse, itâs rape.â
The protests, involving thousands across the country, started Thursday evening when a court in Spain's Navar re region ruled 2 to 1 that the five men from âThe Wolf Packâ or âLa Manadaâ would be released on bail, the New York Times reported. Earlier this year, the same court acquitted the men of sexual assault and sentenced them to nine years in jail for sexual abuse â" a less severe crime that does not include rape. Prosecutors, who were seeking convictions for rape, had been arguing for 22 years in prison for each of the perpetrators.
Protesters shout slogans during a demonstration in Seville, Spain, on June 22 against the release on bail of five men, known as âThe Wolf Pack,â who were cleared of gang rape in an attack on a teenager and convicted of the lesser crime of sexual abuse. (Marcelo del Pozo/Reuters)
Many Spaniards disagreed with the sentencing in April, taking to the streets in protest. Now, the release of the five me n â" JosÃ© Ãngel Prenda, Antonio Manuel Guerrero, Ãngel Boza, Alfonso JesÃºs Cabezuelo and JesÃºs Escudero â" has reignited the issue.
These mass demonstrations present one of the first serious tests of Spainâs newly minted leadership. Earlier this month, Spainâs new prime minister, Pedro SÃ¡nchez, made headlines for selecting a majority-female Cabinet â" the first in the countryâs history.
Protesters hold up pictures of the five men charged with sexual abuse in Seville, Spain, on June 22. (Marcelo del Pozo/Reuters)
When the protests first exploded last April, former Spanish deputy prime minister Soraya SÃ¡enz de SantamarÃa said the government âhad to respectâ the ruling of the court, the Associated Press reported. SÃ¡nchez, who was running for the presidency at the time, took a markedly different position, writi ng on Twitter: âIf what the wolf pack did as a group wasnât violence against a defenseless woman, what do we then understand to be rape?â
As the case around âThe Wolf Packâ continues to unfold, pressure will mount on Spain's new government to address growing outrage. Whether SÃ¡nchez will act according to his previous beliefs remains to be seen.Source: Google News Spain | Netizen 24 Spain