Catalan demonstration in Brussels, Belgium


This video is about a big demonstration for Catalan independence in Brussels, Belgium today. 20,000 demonstrators are expected.

Carles Puigdemont, president of Catalonia, exiled in Belgium, will address the demonstration.

UPDATE: police counted 45,000 demonstrators; organisers more.

See also here.

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Spain, Franco and Catalonia


This video says about itself:

The Spanish Government Still Loves its Fascist Dictator

24 November 2017

Ever wondered why Catalonia is seeking independence from Spain? Here’s one reason.

Belgian criticism of arresting Catalan politicians


This 20 September 2017 video is called Angry protests in Barcelona as Spain rounds up Catalan officials.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

There is growing criticism in Belgium about the arrest warrant for the deposed Catalan government president Puigdemont. The Belgian Interior Minister Jan Jambon said to VTM News that Madrid has gone too far. “When will Europe anything at last?” He said. “Beating up peaceful people and jailing government ministers. I’m asking questions.” …

Former Belgian Prime Minister and Socialist Party leader Di Rupo calls it on Twitter shocking to put Puigdemont in a cell. According to him, Spanish Prime Minister Rajoy behaves like an “authoritarian Franco follower“, referring to Spanish ex-dictator Francisco Franco.

Carles Puigdemont bailed pending Brussels ruling. Ousted president of Catalonia and four former ministers await decision on extradition to Spain after 10-hour hearing: here.

Bitter conflicts erupted inside the European Union (EU) this weekend over Spain’s suspension of the elected government of Catalonia after the October 1 Catalan independence referendum and the flight of deposed Catalan premier Carles Puigdemont to Brussels. As Madrid escalates its repression in Catalonia after General Fernando Alejandre threatened the region with military intervention, a historic political crisis is shaking the EU to its foundations: here.

Campaigning has begun in the Catalan regional elections scheduled for December 21. The elections are a travesty of democracy, proceeding in the shadow of the repression instigated by Spain’s Popular Party (PP) government: here.

Belgian authorities interrogate Catalan refugees


This video recorded in Catalonia by British daily The Guardian says about itself:

1 October 2017

Video footage of police brutality against voters in Girona has appeared. The video shows police hitting people in the crowd with batons while voters hold up their hands. Catalan president Carles Puigdemont has told reporters that ‘violence will not stop Catalans from voting‘.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Puigdemont and ministers report to Belgian police

Today, 12:48

The deposed Catalan government president Puigdemont and the four ministers who are with him in Belgium have reported themselves to the Belgian police. The Belgian authorities announced that at a press conference.

Puigemont and his ministers have declared themselves a quarter past nine this morning. In the presence of their lawyers, they were officially informed about the European arrest warrant. They are being interrogated this afternoon by a investigating judge. He must say within 24 hours what he will do with the European warrant.

That judge has several options. He may refuse to carry out the arrest warrant, or he may arrest the Catalans or free them under conditions.

Issue not yet finished

If the judge agrees with the European arrest warrant, then a council must take a decision within two weeks on the Spanish arrest warrant. After that, an appeal may take another two weeks. …

The Catalans are being prosecuted in Spain for rebellion, rabble rousing and abuse of government money. There is a prison sentence of 30 years for that.

Catalan refugees won’t be arrested, Belgian government says


This video says about itself:

Catalonia referendum: Thousands protest Spanish police violence – BBC News

3 October 2017

Thousands of people took to the streets of Barcelona and other Catalan cities to protest against Spanish police violence.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Belgium denies that Puigdemont will be arrested this afternoon

Today, 12:48

The Brussels Public Prosecutor denies that Carles Puigdemont and four other Catalan politicians will be arrested this afternoon, as two major Spanish newspapers report. At 14.00, the parquet will hold a press conference, says a spokesperson.

El País and El Mundo write that a warrant was issued for Puigdemont and his supporters to be arrested this afternoon. They traveled to Brussels last week.

Spanish government jails Catalans as political prisoners


This video says about itself:

2 November 2017

Pro-independence crowd demonstrated in front of the Generalitat (the Catalan regional government) in Barcelona as a Spanish judge on Thursday ordered eight members of the deposed Catalan government detained pending further probes into their role in the region’s tumultuous quest for independence. A European arrest warrant was also issued for ousted Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont who is now in Belgium.

From daily News Line in Britain:

Saturday, 4 November 2017

CATALAN LEADERS JAILED

TENS of thousands have demonstrated in Barcelona in protest at the jailing of eight deposed Catalan ministers who have been remanded in prison by a Spanish high court judge over the region’s push for independence.

The protesters waved placards saying ‘free political prisoners’. The remanded ministers are accused of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds. Catalonia’s former business minister Santi Vila yesterday called on the Spanish state to ‘end the terrible situation that has resulted in politicians being imprisoned’ after leaving a detention centre in Madrid on bail.

Vila, who resigned the day before the declaration of independence on October 27th, was the only one granted the chance to be freed if he paid a bond of 50,000 euros.

The other eight remain in prison. After paying his bond, Vila left a detention centre in Estremera yesterday afternoon. The 44-year-old stopped briefly to speak with reporters before departing in a car.

He said: ‘Disproportionate measures have been taken. I’m convinced democrats of the world do not understand it.’ He called upon the major authorities in the Spanish state, including PM Mariano Rajoy, President of the Congress of Deputies Ana Pastor and President of the Senate Pio Garcia-Escudero to ‘end this terrible situation that has resulted in politicians being imprisoned’.

‘Take action in the matter and take political initiative. This won’t be solved in courts; it will be solved with politics’, he insisted. Meanwhile, deposed Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont’s Belgian lawyer Paul Bekaert told Flemish television channel VRT that a European arrest warrant ‘has been issued against the president and four other ministers who are in Belgium’.

He said he expected that the Spanish judiciary would send an extradition request to Belgian federal prosecutors, adding that Puigdemont would appeal if a Belgian judge approved the request. The EU continues to support the Spanish government.

European Commission spokeswoman Annika Breidthardt told journalists: ‘This is a matter entirely for the judicial authorities whose independence we respect fully.’ German Chancellor Merkel’s press chief Steffen Seibert told reporters:
‘As government spokesman, I see no reason at all to comment on decisions made by Spanish courts. We continue to support the clear position of the Spanish prime minister (Mariano Rajoy).’

Spanish army threatens to intervene in Catalonia as ministers are jailed: here.

Belgian Prime Minister bans contacts with Catalonian refugees


This video says about itself:

5 October 2017

Thousands of Basques are supporting Catalonia’s bid for independence. Braving a police crackdown, some 2 million Catalans have voted for separation from Spain. Now, Madrid fears separatist tendencies could spread.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today, about Belgium:

Prime minister Michel has forbidden his ministers to contact the deposed Catalan government president Puigdemont. …

Also at a lower level, Michel has prohibited people from contacting Puigdemont. The Flemish government may also not have talks with him. The Flemish Prime Minister Geert Bourgeois has regularly had contact with the Catalan government president. …

In Spain, he [Puigdemont] and other Catalan leaders are charged with rebellion, rabble rousing and abuse of public money. Belgian media write that Puigdemont wants to apply for political asylum.

Belgium is the only country where a resident of another EU country can do that. The other countries refer people who have political problems back to their own country because they assume that the legal system in all EU countries is in order.

Human rights attorney

Puigdemont has contacted the Belgian human rights lawyer Paul Bekaert.

Catalonia’s ex-president Puigdemont: I’m not in Belgium to seek asylum. Ousted leader says he would return home ‘immediately’ if a fair judicial process was guaranteed in Spain, where he faces possible charges including rebellion: here.

From Brussels, where he fled to escape prosecution by Spanish authorities, deposed Catalan regional premier Carles Puigdemont appealed yesterday for the European Union to intervene in the secession crisis. Last week, Madrid invoked Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution to impose an unelected regime in Catalonia in response to the October 1 Catalan independence referendum. Now Puigdemont is asking the EU to broker a deal between the Popular Party government in Madrid and the ousted Catalan authorities: here.

The European Union is supporting Madrid’s imposition of Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution to impose a puppet government in Catalonia. Giving Madrid a blank check to turn back the clock to the authoritarian policies of the fascist regime led by Francisco Franco, which fell in 1978 amid mass struggles of the Spanish working class, the EU is shattering whatever pretenses remain that it is a force for democracy: here.