THE government has hit back after Spain’s top court ruled that last year’s strict coronavirus lockdown was unconstitutional.
In a statement, the Minister of Justice Pilar Llop said that while the government ‘respects’ the decision of the courts, they believe the lockdown was justifiable because of the lives that were saved.
Llop said that the state of emergency declared on March 14, 2020 helped to curb the first wave of COVID-19 infections and ‘allowed hundreds of thousands of lives to be saved’ in a time of ‘extreme emergency as the disease rapidly evolved’.
She added that some 450,000 lives were saved as a result of the emergency measures.
To date, more than 81,000 people in Spain have officially died with coronavirus.
Spain has three levels of emergency: state of emergency, state of exception, and the highest level, state of siege.
On Wednesday the Constitutional Court ruled that the state of emergency declared in March was illegal and unconstitutional with the decision splitting six judges in favour with five against.
The ruling said that restrictions on movement infringed the ‘basic rights’ of citizens.
It added that the pretext of calling a State of Alarm was not enough to give the restrictions the appropriate constitutional backing.
The court ruling talked about the illegality of ‘stopping people and vehicles travelling on roads and public spaces’, which they say broke the Spanish constitution.
But Llop said that the Spanish Government enforced used the state of alarm ‘like other European governments’ and pointed to ‘equivalent measures’ introduce in other countries.