Spaniards who shout slogans or carry placards that are offensive to national or regional government face fines of up to €30,000 (£25,000) under a law approved by the cabinet.
As the government has an overall majority, the Citizen Protection Law is certain to pass on to the statute books.
The Spanish vice president Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría yesterday said the law “is an instrument to guarantee the free exercise of right… and peaceful co-existence”.
As there is no definition of what constitutes “offensive,” interior ministry sources said it will take time to see how the law evolves.
Protestors also face €1,000 fines for insulting the police, €30,000 for breaching the peace by taking part in a drinking session in a public place and €30,000 for joining an “unofficial” demonstration outside parliament.
Wearing a hooded-top while disrupting the public order becomes a criminal offence. Protesting outside the headquarters of a political party on the eve of a general election carries a fine of up to €600,000.
There are also fines of up to €30,000 for spreading far-right propaganda, displaying photographs of convicted members of ETA, the Basque terror group, and making statements – even within a religious context – that could be viewed as “an aggression against women.” This could include a controversial “self-help” book for married women published recently by the archbishopric of Granada titled Shut up and Submit.
Interior minister Jorge Fernández Diaz said the legislation does not cover booing or whistling during the national anthem at sporting event, which is already covered by the law against violence in sport.