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Spain: Violence flares back up at protests for jailed rapper

After a brief respite, protests have again turned violent in Barcelona as supporters of a Spanish rap artist imprisoned for glorifying domestic terrorist groups and insulting Spain's monarch returned to the streets Saturday.

Several thousand people marched peacefully in the city before small packs spun off and smashed the windows of at least two bank offices and did other property damage. Police made at least 10 arrests, including of two people suspected of trying to set fire to a police van.

There were also protests in other towns in Spain's Catalonia region, where rapper Pablo Hasél was arrested on Feb. 16 and taken into custody to serve a nine-month prison sentence.

A demonstrator is detained by police during clashes following a protest condemning the arrest of rap singer Pablo Hasél in Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. After a few days of calm, protests have again turned violent in Barcelona as supporters for a jailed Spanish rapper went back to the streets. (AP PhotoFelipe Dana)

Hasél is doing time for inciting terrorism — he has praised two now-defunct armed groups responsible for killing over 1,000 people in Spain -- and for refusing to pay a fine for insulting Spain’s former king.

Protests immediately erupted in cities across Spain following his arrest, but they continued for over a week in Barcelona and other parts of Catalonia. More than 100 people were arrested during that stretch.

The flare-up of violence on Saturday came after a few nights of tense calm.

A police van is set on fire as protestors throw molotov cocktails at police during clashes following a protest condemning the arrest of rap singer Pablo Hasél in Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. After a few days of calm, protests have again turned violent in Barcelona as supporters for a jailed Spanish rapper went back to the streets. (AP PhotoEmilio Morenatti)

Spain’s left-wing government has pledged to eliminate prison terms for offenses involving freedom of speech, but so far that has done little to quell the unrest.

A demonstrator is detained by police during clashes following a protest condemning the arrest of rap singer Pablo Hasél in Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. After a few days of calm, protests have again turned violent in Barcelona as supporters for a jailed Spanish rapper went back to the streets. (AP PhotoFelipe Dana)

A protestor try to burn a bank branch after breaking the window following a protest condemning the arrest of rap singer Pablo Hasél in Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. After a few days of calm, protests have again turned violent in Barcelona as supporters for a jailed Spanish rapper went back to the streets. (AP PhotoEmilio Morenatti)

A merchant stands inside his shop stormed by protesters following a protest condemning the arrest of rap singer Pablo Hasél in Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. Protests in support of a jailed rapper turned violent in Barcelona on Saturday with clashes between police and groups of mostly angry youths in the center of the Spanish city. (AP PhotoEmilio Morenatti)

Protesters break the windows of a commerce during clashes following a protest condemning the arrest of rap singer Pablo Hasél in Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. Protests in support of a jailed rapper turned violent in Barcelona on Saturday with clashes between police and groups of mostly angry youths in the center of the Spanish city. (AP PhotoEmilio Morenatti)

A police van burns after being attacked by demonstrators during a protest condemning the arrest of rap singer Pablo Hasél in Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. After a few days of calm, protests have again turned violent in Barcelona as supporters for a jailed Spanish rapper went back to the streets. (AP PhotoFelipe Dana)

Demonstrators march during a protest condemning the arrest of rap singer Pablo Hasél in Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. After a few days of calm, protests have again turned violent in Barcelona as supporters for a jailed Spanish rapper went back to the streets. (AP PhotoFelipe Dana)