Spanish Protestants have raised an outcry of religious persecution following government orders to shut down evangelical radio and television stations.

Complaints came after Public Minister Rafael Arias Salgado ordered the closing of Trinity Broadcasting Network's Tu Pueblo Television station in Madrid, along with nine of the sixteen evangelical radio stations of the Radio TV Amistad chain linked with the Church of God of Spain.

Spanish authorities say they are enforcing new regulations, not engaging in religious discrimination.

Stations operating before 1995, such as Tu Pueblo and the Amistad chain, had an eight-month exemption from compliance with new regulations. During the transition period, the government failed to provide the necessary compliance procedures.

Mariano Blazquez, executive secretary of the evangelical umbrella organization FEREDE (Federation of Evangelical Religious Entities of Spain), believes evangelical radio and television stations have been singled out, because many other stations "operate in the same conditions."

In addition, both Enlace, the operator of the TV station in Madrid, and the Amistad radio stations have also experienced interference on their frequencies from a government-owned network.

Tu Pueblo has endured the obstruction of its signal in 70 percent of its area coverage. The tv station is fighting the frequency interference and the closure order in court. The Amistad radio stations are also contesting their closure. FEREDE has opposed the closure of the Amistad stations as a breach of freedom of religion and expression.

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