Basque region sees rise in harassment complaints

Written by By Rina Abreu, CNN Madrid, Spain Attendance at upcoming fairs and exhibitions in the Basque region of Spain has fallen. In the nine months since the region outlawed certain gatherings, there has…

Basque region sees rise in harassment complaints

Written by By Rina Abreu, CNN Madrid, Spain

Attendance at upcoming fairs and exhibitions in the Basque region of Spain has fallen. In the nine months since the region outlawed certain gatherings, there has been a 20% drop in events.

The reason: a rising number of harassment complaints, which constitute the bulk of complaints lodged against fair organizers, according to local authorities. That’s a big jump from 2015, when organizers reported just 32 cases of harassment.

Attendance at 2018 Basque regional exhibition “Silk” is declining. Credit: VeggieOs chicse #Silk23)

“We have been getting more complaints since 2015, and this year we only received 16,” says Andres Ruiz, a member of the local local security council, who also works for the Institute of Civil Stability.

“The vast majority of these complaints relate to the harassment of women, particularly on social media and especially on Twitter,” he says.

Ruiz says the increased numbers of harassment complaints are part of a broad trend across the region.

There has been a surge in hate crimes in the Basque region over the past two years. Credit: VeggieOs cachmelas #Silk13)

“The Basque region has been in the news for so many things recently that social media has become like a global forum, where people can announce their ideas with impunity,” he explains.

Cesar Navarro, a Basque music fan, was among those who suffered a backlash in the past.

According to Navarro, as the songs were being played on the radio, it was met with messages of harassment that were sent to his phone. This harassment included calls to his home in Valencia, Calahorra, and 1,200 kilometers away in Tenerife.

Still, the musician says he isn’t deterred.

“I have been performing music in the Basque region since 2011, and I have never experienced this kind of antagonism,” he says.

“The people of the Basque region do not seek confrontation with strangers and do not provoke terrorism. You will not find a Basque arguing with another Basque in his living room.”

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