FOUR leaders of the Spanish VOX party might need to answer to their own Spanish law courts on incitement to hatred charges.
Gibraltar Chief Minister Fabian Picardo told Parliament that he would not allow freedom of expression to be ‘abused by those who mean to cause us harm’.
The criminal complaint was filed under Article 510 of the Spanish Penal Code which deals with offences of incitement to hatred.
It follows a campaign by Vox which called Gibraltar a nest of criminals who hold Spaniards hostage instead of employing them.
“The sort of language we are of complaining said in public is that we are a leech to the economy of the Campo de Gibraltar and that we are money launderers,” said Picardo in Gibraltar.
These comments had led to others urging violence against Gibraltarians, which Picardo described as similar to the tactics used by Hitler.
He said he had carefully considered this action and could be followed by action through to the highest court in Europe.
A highly publicised publicity stunt by the party led to the unfurling of the Spanish flag on the Rock, leading to the arrest of one of its leaders.
Both Keith Azopardi of the GSD Opposition and Marlene Hassan Nahon of Together Gibraltar pledged their support for the move when it was announced in Parliament.
The actions of Vox have even led to the leader of the party in La Linea resigning because of the encouragement of hatred towards Gibraltar.
“There is an important dividing line between the right to speak one’s mind, however much we may disagree with the views expressed, and the incitement to hatred, libel, slander or defamation,” said Picardo.
“We will not allow anyone to cross that line unchallenged and we will take every recourse available to us all and each of us, in every tribunal available to us, in order to counter those attempts we perceive to incite such hatred.”
The Government has also asked the social media group ‘Gibraltar Español’ to be investigated for what it called ‘an avid echo-chamber for anti-Gibraltarian propaganda of VOX‘.
The Chief Minister added: “History has seen these moments pass before without those who have raised the temperature in this way remaining unchallenged.
“That won’t happen on my watch and whilst my Cabinet colleagues and I are responsible for the discharge of our affairs!”