JEERING and cat-calling during the national anthem is not a criminal offence, according to the High Court of Justice which threw out an attempted prosecution against Barça FC fans.
At the height of Catalunya's drive for an independence referendum, a Copa del Rey match between Athletic Bilbao and Barça at the latter's Camp Nou stadium last May led to outrage when home fans began whistling, booing, hissing and groaning their way through the national anthem.
Anti-corruption campaign group Manos Limpias ('clean hands') filed legal action, claiming doing so was an assault on the Monarchy, equivalent to burning a national flag.
The judge, Fernando Andreu, drew parallels with an identical case in the Copa del Rey final at the Mestalla stadium in Valencia in 2009, where the High Court rejected the complaint.
He added that 'one of the strongest pillars in a democracy' was freedom of speech.