Thousands of demonstrators banged on kitchen pots and chanted "Catalonia has no king!" on Monday to protest a visit by the Spanish royal family to the capital of the region that has been rocked by weeks of pro-independence demonstrations. Attended by King Felipe, his wife Queen Letizia and two daughters, the venue of the Princess of Girona young talent awards ceremony in Barcelona were heavily guarded by police who had installed heavy fences and blocked one of the city's main thoroughfares with vans.
Two discourses permeate the Catalan independence movement. One of them argues that the Catalan constitute a differentiated group with their own culture and history, and therefore they merit their own state. This idea suggests that even if the Catalan struggle for more political autonomy had not faced a repressive response by Spanish central authorities, particularly since 2010, independence would nevertheless remain a goal in itself. The other discourse justifies Catalan independence precisely because of this staunch refusal of the Spanish political system to discuss the territorial structure of Spain.
Catalonia ‘Separatists’ Bad, HK ‘Pro-Democracy Protesters’ Good: Orwell’s 1984 Becomes User’s Manual For Western ‘Free Media’
When supporters of Catalan leaders jailed for organizing a democratic vote advance on Barcelona airport, media make a fuss over ‘separatists’ causing chaos. When the same tactic’s used in Hong Kong, it’s a ‘pro-democracy’ protest. In George Orwell’s 1984, The War Ministry was renamed the Ministry of Peace. Truth was Lies, Hate was Love. But author Lewis Carroll got there first. In ‘Through the Looking Glass,’ first published in 1871, Humpty Dumpty tells Alice, and in rather a scornful manner, “When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.”
On most days, Barcelona is noisy, its air toxic. But this Friday, most of the city was quiet and breathable, traffic arteries blocked, cruise ships rerouted and flights canceled. Briefly, and partially, Barcelona felt like a climate-compatible city of the future, even if its engines had been shut down for other reasons altogether. The noise and smell, normally everywhere, had been focalized by mass demonstrations, riot police and swerving helicopters, and as night fell, burning barricades. Catalonia has now had four days of multitudinous marches, of rioting and blockades. Hundreds of thousands have marched, and equal numbers have participated in a social general strike blockading highways and thoroughfares, picketing shops and supermarkets. Everybody expected the Catalan uprising.
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Rioting raged in Barcelona and several other Catalan towns for a third straight night Wednesday, with police fighting running street battles with protesters angered by lengthy prison sentences for nine leaders of the wealthy region’s drive for independence from Spain. Tens of thousands of protesters faced off against police in Barcelona. Some set up flaming barricades in the streets, torching cars and trash cans. They chanted, “The streets will always be ours!”
Madrid - Spain’s Supreme Court plans to convict and sentence Catalan separatist leaders to a maximum of 15 years in prison over a 2017 bid for independence, a judicial source said on Saturday. The most prominent of the 12 Catalan leaders on trial would be found guilty of charges of sedition and misuse of public funds but none would be convicted and sentenced for the more severe charge of rebellion, the source told Reuters. The decision was taken unanimously by the seven members of the top court, the source added. The verdict is expected to be signed by the judges and made public next week, most likely on Monday, the source said. The trial’s top judge, Manuel Marchena, declined to comment on the media leaks. However, he added that “everything is open (because) a ruling will not be completed until it is signed by every single judge.”
Colau narrowly lost the popular vote (21.3% to 20.7%) on May 26 to Ernest Maragall of the Republican Left party, which calls for Catalonia — Spain’s largest and wealthiest province and home to Barcelona — to secede and become its own country. Because Maragall fell short of winning an outright majority, the election went to the 41-member City Council where an alliance of three parties gave Colau the support she needed to win. In addition to receiving 10 votes from Barcelona en Comú, the party she leads, Colau cobbled together a majority by receiving eight votes from the Socialists and three from the conservative pro-European Union party of Manuel Valls.
Organizers of the protest against the Catalan trial have celebrated a “historic” march in Madrid in a “context of political repression”. For the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) president Elisenda Paluzie this demonstration showed the unity of “all the peoples of Spain” for the right to self-determination. The vicepresident of Omnium Cultural, Marcel Mauri, deemed the protest as a “wall” against intolerance and hate. Thousands of people rallied against the ongoing independence trial on Saturday through Paseo de Prado – the symbolic and geographical heart of the Spanish capital – under the banners "Self-determination is not a crime" and "Democracy is about deciding".
Pro-independence activists in Catalonia are venting their anger at Madrid’s trial of the region’s provincial leaders. Baton-wielding police scuffled with some of the demonstrators as people also blocked roads and set tires ablaze. The group behind the protest is called the Committees for the Defence of the Republic (CDRs) and has been involved in demonstrations against Spain’s central government for months. The goal of Thursday’s action is to ‘paralyze everything,’ as the group put it.
More than a year has passed since Catalonia's regional parliament voted to declare independence from Spain following a contested referendum that saw Spanish police violently disperse Catalan voters. Since then, pro-independence Catalan politicians and activists have been held in pre-trial detention on charges of rebellion, disobedience, and embezzlement of public funds for their alleged roles in the referendum and subsequent declaration of independence from Spain. Others, such as former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont, have fled Spain to avoid charges and lobby for Catalonia's independence in the European Union.
Several parts of the city center were on lockdown this Friday morning due to the cabinet meeting and the pro-independence protests. The Palau Llotja de Mar building, close to the Barcelona seafront, was the focal point for a large deployment of police officers. Protesters did not make it to the venue due to the cordons deployed from 5:30am onwards, but demonstrations were active nearby. The Committees for the Defense of the Republic (CDR) pro-independence group gathered in central places like Via Laietana and cut key roads, such as the Diagonal avenue and the Passeig de Gràcia boulevard.
Two Catalan separatist leaders jailed pending trial in Spain over their role in last year's failed independence bid have begun a hunger strike, their lawyer said. Jordi Sanchez, the former head of the influential grassroots ANC independence movement, and Jordi Turull, a former minister in the Catalan regional government, are taking this step to "raise awareness" of their unfair treatment by Spain's justice system, lawyer Jordi Pina told journalists in Barcelona on Saturday. After Catalonia declared independence from Spain last year, Madrid took direct control of the region and brought charges against Catalan leaders - including misuse of public funds and rebellion - nine of whom are in jail awaiting trial.
A million people crying for independence, demanding the release of political prisoners and the return of exiles should be an image that should be traveling around the world to show that the Catalan people are determined to exercise the right to self-determination and build the Republic of Catalonia. However, the Spanish hegemonic press has tried to hide the sky with a finger. The media has also tried to minimize what has become a powerful message of dignity of a people who are fed up with enduring the chains and the Spanish plundering of their economy, but also the cultural penetration that among other things wants to destroy its upmost sign of identity; the Catalan language.
On July 19, Spain’s Supreme Court has withdrawn all the European Arrest Warrants against pro-independence leaders abroad, including former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont. Spanish judge Pablo Llarena decided not to pursue the extradition of Puigdemont after the German court of Schleswig-Holstein rejected to surrender him for rebellion. Former president Carles Puigdemont has called on the Spanish head of state Pedro Sánchez to do his “homework” regarding Catalonia. He also warned that “the grace period is over.” Spanish King Felipe VI is willing to negotiate with pro-independence parties in order to "repair" their damaged relationship since the October 1 referendum.
Between 110,000 and 200,000 people attended a march held in Barcelona on Saturday to demand freedom for the nine pro-independence leaders jailed. The Catalan capital's local police estimated that 110,000 attended the protest, while organizers raised this figure to 200,000. The people who took the streets of Barcelona included the country's two top authorities, president Quim Torra and parliament speaker Roger Torrent. The host organizations were major pro-independence entities ANC and Òmnium, alongside with another one gathering the relatives of the jailed and exiled leaders. 'Neither prison nor exile, we want you home' The march started in Barcelona's city center at 7pm with a clear motto: 'Neither prison nor exile, we want you home."