Mighty Barcelona protest demands leaders’ freedom

AS many as 750,000 people took part in last Saturday’s mammoth protest in Barcelona, demanding the release of the politicians and pro-independence association leaders.

They are being held in pre-trial custody over Catalonia’s secessionist drive. And family members of the ousted Catalan Government ministers, together with the ANC and Òmnium association leaders, read letters and messages from the imprisoned group.

Present at the protest, held in favour of “the freedom of political prisoners”, was Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau.

Catalan Parliament Speaker Carme Forcadell, also being investigated by the courts for her role in the recent unilateral declaration of independence, voted through the regional chamber, took her lawyer’s advice and stayed away, having been released from pre-trial custody just a day before, upon full bail payment.

At 4pm, an hour before the march began, thousands of people were already thronging the streets, many wearing a yellow ribbon in tribute to whom they consider to be “political prisoners”.

They included former deputy premier Oriol Junqueras and another seven ousted members of the Catalan Parliament. They are all in pre-trial custody in Madrid prisons, while being investigated by the courts for rebellion and sedition offences.

The march was the best-attended since 16th October, when some 200,000 people protested about the jailing of pro-independence ANC and Òmnium association leaders Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart.

They are accused of organising and encouraging protests in September, said to have impeded the Spanish authorities from carrying out searches for material being prepared for Catalonia’s illegal 1st October independence referendum.

Another protest, on 21st October, calling for their release, attracted 450,000 people to the streets of the Catalan capital.

Carles Puigdemont, the ousted regional premier facing similar charges to the members of his former government, who has fled to Brussels, sent a video message to the protest, calling on citizens to remain “very active” and expressing his trust that his jailed colleagues would hear the “clamour” of the people.

“Let’s not let ourselves be frightened or constrained by those who want to impose the law of [Article] 155,” he said, in reference to the clause in the Spanish Constitution. It was used by the Spanish Government in Madrid to sack the entire Catalan Government, and to suspend self-government in the region.

Puigdemont added: “The Spanish state cannot carry on like this. The European community must stop looking the other way.”

His message was received with applause and cries of “President, President!”

Leading the march were family members of the jailed pro-independence figures, as well as the heads of the PDeCAT, ERC and CUP parties, all in favour of the secession of the region from the rest of Spain.

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Posted by on Nov 17 2017. Filed under Local News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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