Spanish police arrests Catalan football fans for yellow shirts


This 22 April 2018 video is called Pro-Catalan Supporters Targeted By Spanish Police.

Sometimes, police arrest football fans for hooliganism. But in this case, the arrests were for wearing yellow shirts; seen as a protest against making Catalans political prisoners.

This was at the King’s Cup match in Madrid yesterday. FC Barcelona from Catalonia won the cup by beating Sevilla 5 to 0.

From AFP news agency today:

Spanish authorities under fire over cup final yellow ban

Spanish authorities are facing a backlash after Barcelona supporters were forced to ditch yellow T-shirts ahead of the club’s Spanish Cup final victory over Sevilla.

Several television stations showed pictures of police forcing Barça fans to discard their yellow T-shirts before entering the Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid ahead of the 5-0 thrashing of Sevilla that earned the Catalan club a 30th Copa del Rey victory.

Many Catalans — including Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola whose ribbon has resulted in a fine by English football authorities — have been donning yellow to show support for nine Catalan independence leaders held in prison near Madrid over “rebellion”.

They face up to 30 years in jail if convicted of that charge. …

Barça have often played a significant role in the Catalan independence movement supported by many of their fans. The club is seen by many as a bastion of resistance against Madrid domination, not just on the football field but in political halls too.

Barça centre-back Gerard Pique has been jeered many times by Spain fans while wearing the national team jersey over his open support for a referendum on Catalan independence.

Saturday’s measures sparked anger in Catalonia.

“Inexplicable. We’re a club that defends freedom of expression”, said Barça chairman Josep Maria Bartomeu after the game, adding that he would demand an explanation from the Spanish Football Federation.

“If now, a simple colour is an offence to the State, where are we going?” former Catalonia president Carles Puigdemont tweeted from Germany where he is in self-imposed exile to avoid a Spanish arrest warrant.

“Banning yellow in a football stadium is absurd and ridiculous, and an unacceptable attack on freedom of expression”, said pro-Catalan independence association Omnium Cultural.

Social media users reacted with irony, asking if the match officials for the cup final would also have their jerseys taken from them as they were wearing yellow.

Some Barcelona fans jeered the Spanish national anthem and the watching King Felipe VI ahead of Saturday’s match.

A goal from Argentine superstar Lionel Messi and two from Uruguay international forward Luis Suarez helped Barça cruise to victory.

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Rally for freeing Catalan political prisoners in Valencia, Spain


This video says about itself:

21 April 2018

Pro-Catalan independence activists joined a mass rally in Valencia to honour the victims of hate crimes.

Stop repression in Catalonia, Amsterdam demonstration 14 April


This video says about itself:

Police brutality on Catalonia independence referendum (01/10/2017)

Images of police repression today in Sant Iscle de Vallalta, a tiny 1200 people village close to Barcelona.

From Facebook, about a demonstration, Saturday 14 April, 2 pm at the Dam square in Amsterdam, the Netherlands:

Stand up for democracy and human rights! Solidarity with the Catalans!

The Spanish repression of Catalans gets worse by the day. In the meantime, nine Catalan MPs and activists have already been arrested. Without ever using violence, they are accused of ‘violent revolt’. On the weekend of the demonstration, two leaders of the Catalan movement will have been jailed for no reason already for six months.

In recent months more than 1,500 people were injured by the Spanish authorities and the only crime was that they wanted to vote, 150 fascist attacks took place in Catalonia, 140 websites were taken off the Internet, police attacked journalists, critical rappers were sentenced to prison and committees in which local residents gather to defend their right of self-determination are being criminalized. Whether you are against or for independence, this undermining of democracy and human rights must stop!

Member states of the EU refuse to condemn the Spanish state and are cooperating in the extradition of political prisoners. Earlier, the EU also put democracy aside in Greece by pushing through its draconian austerity policy. From Barcelona to Athens and Amsterdam we speak out this weekend in solidarity with the Catalans.

Defend democracy and human rights!
Freedom for the Catalan political prisoners!
For the right of self-determination!

The extradition case of former Catalan Education Minister, Clara Ponsatí, comes to court today in Edinburgh, Scotland for a preliminary hearing: here.

Catalan Clara Ponsati, deportation from Scotland to Spanish jail?


Former Catalan education minister Clara Ponsati (centre), who is facing extradition to Spain, greets supporters alongside her lawyer Aamer Anwar outside Edinburgh Sheriff Court after she was released on bail

This photo shows former Catalan education minister Clara Ponsati (centre), who is facing extradition to Spain, greeting supporters alongside her lawyer Aamer Anwar outside Edinburgh Sheriff Court after she was released on bail. A sign says, in Spanish: ‘There is no democracy in Spain‘.

By Conrad Landin in Britain:

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Scottish court grants bail to Catalan politician facing jail in Spain

A CATALAN politician facing jail over the recent independence referendum was bailed by a Scottish court today.

Clara Ponsati was the Spanish region’s education minister but she fled to Belgium, along with Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, when the administration was sacked by the Spanish government last autumn. Catalonia had declared independence from Spain following a referendum which Madrid declared to be illegal.

Ms Ponsati later returned to a teaching post at St Andrews University, which she had previously held before entering front-line politics.

A European arrest warrant for a number of Catalan ex-ministers was reissued on Friday and Ms Ponsati handed herself in to police in Edinburgh this morning.

The hearing before Sheriff Nigel Ross lasted less than 10 minutes this afternoon in a courtroom crowded with press and supporters.

The court heard that Ms Ponsati does not consent to extradition. The application for bail was not opposed by the Crown. Granted bail, Ms Ponsati was asked to surrender her passport.

Her lawyer said she views the charges, which could attract a jail term of up to 30 years, as political persecution and believes that her human rights cannot be guaranteed in Spain.

Students at St Andrews protested against her arrest outside the university’s students union today evening. A bigger demonstration will be held on Monday from 7pm.

Aamer Anwar, a celebrated rights lawyer and Glasgow University rector, who is representing Ms Ponsati, said: “Clara remains defiant, resolute and is determined to fight back.”

Mr Anwar said his client was “truly humbled by the unconditional support from students, colleagues and the principal at St Andrews University,” and expressed thanks to the Scottish public and politicians for their support. “Scotland has been a true friend to Catalonia in her darkest hours,” he added.

The ex-minister’s counsel is likely to argue that rebellion is not a crime in Scotland, though the offence of treason could be deemed sufficiently similar. The case could also be struck out on grounds that it is politically motivated.

Mr Puigdemont, heading back to Belgium from a trip to Finland, was arrested by police in Germany on Monday. After a preliminary hearing, he will need to appear in court again to before a judge will determine whether he should be extradited.

St Andrews hits out at Spanish bid to extradite Catalan academic. University ‘deeply concerned’ after former Catalan minister Clara Ponsatí named in warrant: here.

University Statement on Professor Clara Ponsati: Clara is a valued colleague and we are committed to protect and support her.

Spanish judiciary accuses former Catalan President Puigdemont of “mobilising the masses”: here.

Spanish police attack protests demanding release of Catalonian leaders: here.

Barcelona: Hundreds of thousands protest against jailing of Catalan independence leaders: here.

German police arrests Catalan politician, people protest


This 25 March 2018 video says about itself:

Protests in Barcelona after former Catalan president arrested

Protesters took to the streets in Barcelona after former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont was arrested in Germany five months after he went into self-imposed exile from Spain.

Mass protests have erupted against the arrest by German police of Catalonia’s former regional premier Carles Puigdemont. The arrest warrant was requested by the Popular Party (PP) government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy: here.

The Sozialistische Gleichheitspartei (Socialist Equality Party, SGP) condemns the German authorities’ arrest of Carlos Puigdemont and demands his immediate release. The former regional president of Catalonia was arrested Sunday morning by German federal police officers on an autobahn in the state of Schleswig-Holstein and detained in a facility in the town of Neumünster. … Puigdemont has committed no crime, but is being pursued for purely political reasons … A comment in the Süddeutsche Zeitung entitled “Germany has its first political prisoner”, acknowledged that Madrid is attempting to “decimate a democratic mass movement with prisons and fines.” It is “obvious that the Spanish judiciary’s hardline stance is aimed at destroying the social and economic existence of the Catalan activists”: here.

Catalan Spring? Resistance fills the streets as ex-President arrested in Germany: here.

Tense protests leave nearly 90 injured and 4 arrested across Catalonia. Thousands take to the streets peacefully to demand Puigdemont’s release after his detention in Germany: here.

Having been caught by Hitler Germany‘s Gestapo in France, and extradited to Franco‘s Spain, Lluís Companys i Jover, anti-fascist president of Catalonia, was executed by a Francoist firing squad on October 15th 1940.

The arrest of Catalan President Carles Puigdemont: Another step toward a police state in Europe: here.

Germany and UK collude with Spanish extradition warrants against Catalan leaders Puigdemont and Ponsatí: here.

German police arrests Catalan politician Puigdemont


This 3 October 2017 video is called Catalonia referendum: Thousands protest Spanish police violence – BBC News.

Dutch NOS TV reports today that German police have arrested Catalan pro-independence politician Carles Puigdemont at the Danish-German border. The Spanish government wants to punish Puigdemont for ‘rebellion’. Puigdemont was on his way back to Belgium, where he lives now in exile. In Belgium, people cannot be extradited for ‘rebellion’.

According to German media, the Spanish secret police had shadowed Puigdemont during all of his journey through northern Europe, and have tipped off German police. Now, there will be court case on whether Germany will extradite Puigdemont to become a political prisoner of the Spanish right-wing minority government.

German police have helped the Erdogan regime of Turkey by arresting demonstrators against the Turkish military invasion of Syria. It looks like they are now helping the right-wing Spanish government as well.

This 25 March 2018 video is called Protests in Barcelona after ex-Catalan leader Puigdemont arrest.

Spain’s Rajoy loses Catalan elections


This 22 December 2017 video from Brussels, Belgium says about itself:

’A slap in the face’ for Madrid: Puigdemont hails Catalonia election win

Catalan pro-independence parties have held their majority in snap regional elections, dealing a severe blow to the Spanish government, which had called the poll in the hope of heading off the secessionist push. Together for Catalonia – the party led by the region’s deposed president, Carles Puigdemont – took 34 seats, the Catalan Republican Left (ERC) 32 and the far-left Popular Unity Candidacy four. Making his victory speech, a jubilant Puigdemont said the Spanish prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, had been ‘sunk’ in Catalonia.

By Alex Lantier and Alejandro López:

Catalan nationalists win narrow majority in crisis elections

22 December 2017

Late last night, Catalan nationalist parties were set to win a narrow majority of 70 seats in the 135-seat Catalan parliament, in special elections the Spanish government called amid the crisis unleashed by the October 1 Catalan independence referendum.

Together for Catalonia (JxCat) had won 34 seats, the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) 32, and the Candidatures of Popular Unity (CUP) 4 seats. In the anti-separatist camp, the Citizens party won 36 seats, the Socialist Party of Catalonia (PSC) 17, and the Popular Party (PP) [the right-wingers of Rajoy‘s minority government in Spain] 3. Catalonia en Comú (CeC)—the Catalan branch of the Podemos party, which claimed to be neutral between Spanish and Catalan nationalism—won 8 seats. Voter turnout was high, at 82 percent.

This result puts paid to hopes in the Spanish ruling elite that elections would allow them to rapidly resolve the standoff between the Spanish and Catalan regional governments. Instead, the conflict between Madrid and Barcelona is set to continue and escalate, amid deep political uncertainty.

The PP government of Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy called the election as part of its repressive strategy in Catalonia, which is backed by the European Union (EU). On October 1, backed by Citizens and the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE), it organized a brutal crackdown on peaceful voters in the independence referendum organized by the Catalan separatist parties. It then invoked Article 155 of the Spanish constitution to suspend the Catalan government and called yesterday’s elections in the hope of obtaining a pro-PP majority.

In the event, however, Rajoy’s strategy backfired. Despite the PP’s threats and its jailing of many Catalan nationalist politicians, the Catalan nationalists retained their majority. The PP, traditionally weak in Catalonia, suffered a humiliating collapse of its vote.

Already last night, recriminations were appearing in the pro-PP press. In an article in the right-wing newspaper ABC titled “Elections for this?” columnist Curri Valenzuela declared, “Mariano Rajoy made a mistake in calling elections as quickly as possible.”

The precise outcome in the Catalan parliament remains unclear. Eight of the 70 Catalan nationalist deputies to be elected cannot physically go to the parliament. Five have fled abroad to avoid Spanish arrest warrants (deposed Catalan regional premier Carles Puigdemont, Clara Ponsatí, Toni Comín, Lluís Puig and Meritxell Serret); three (deposed regional vice-premier Oriol Junqueras, Jordi Sanchez, and Joaquin Forn) have been jailed. This would leave the Catalan nationalists six votes short of the necessary 68-vote majority.

These individuals could give up their seats to lower-ranking JxCat or ERC members to obtain the necessary parliament majority. However, Puigdemont might also seek to return to Catalonia and demand his reinstatement, citing the victory of the Catalan nationalist forces, among which his party was the top vote getter.

The PP’s initial response was to signal that it is preparing stepped-up repression. Yesterday, Rajoy repeated his threats to again invoke Article 155 and suspend the Catalan government if it did not obey Madrid, declaring, “Obey the law, or else you already know what will happen.”

The Guardia Civil announced new accusations before the Supreme Court against more Catalan nationalists, including Marta Rovira (the leader of the ERC while Junqueras is in jail) and CUP spokeswoman Anna Gabriel. They also laid the grounds for new accusations against more Catalan nationalists, by denouncing a peaceful protest called on the Diada national day as an act of treason.

The Guardia Civil alleged that the protests promoted “a dangerous germ of a sense of rejection or even hatred of the Spanish state and the institutions supporting it. … In these citizens’ protests, there were calls for implementing a permanent strategy of deliberately planned disobedience.”

During the election campaign, PP officials dispensed with the pretense that these are independent investigations by the judicial branch of government. In fact, the PP is using it to settle accounts with its opponents, as PP Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaría told a rally in Girona: “Who has left ERC and the PDECat leaderless after decapitating both parties? Mariano Rajoy and the PP. Who put an end to the law being flouted? Mariano Rajoy and the PP. … So, who deserves the votes to continue liquidating separatism? Mariano Rajoy and the PP.”

Voters delivered a rebuke not only to the PP, however, but also to the coalition of Catalan nationalist parties. The results of the Catalan elections, while humiliating for the PP, did not signify majority support for the Catalan nationalists’ reactionary program of building an independent capitalist Catalan Republic oriented to the EU and hostile to Spain—a program which traditionally faces broad opposition among urban workers in Catalonia.

The Catalan nationalists failed to win a majority of the popular vote, or to substantially increase their vote. The Citizens party received the most votes (25.36 percent), followed by JxCat at 21.68 percent and the ERC at 21.4 percent. Together with the CUP’s 4.45 percent, this signifies that the Catalan separatist parties collectively obtained only 47.53 percent of the vote.

They obtained a majority in the regional parliament, however, as an unintended consequence of the gerrymandering of electoral districts by the Spanish fascist regime during the Transition to parliamentary democracy in the late 1970s. This gerrymandering favored rural districts over urban ones that, at that time, voted for social-democratic or Communist Party candidates. Since then, however, this has turned into an advantage for the Catalan nationalists, whose electoral support is now concentrated in rural areas.

Separatist forces only won 44 and 49.5 percent of the votes in Catalonia’s two main urban districts, Barcelona and Tarragona. However, they won 63.7 percent in Girona and 64.2 percent in Lleída.

… The traditionally anti-separatist “red belt” around Barcelona—the working-class suburbs that historically voted for the social democrats or the Communist Party in the period immediately after the Transition—voted not for the PSC or Podemos, but for the Citizens party. Citizens, a right-wing party with close ties to the PP, nevertheless ran a campaign criticizing the PP and proclaiming that it wanted a more rational and less aggressive strategy to resolve the crisis.

See also here.

Catalonia’s hopes for peace stall as further wave of arrests feared. Tensions continue to rise as Catalans elect 19 jailed, exiled or bailed politicians, and separatists claim the judiciary is acting on Madrid’s orders: here.

In the new year, supporters of independence need to build a mass movement in Catalonia and solidarity across Europe: here.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has made clear that his response to the marginal victory of the Catalan nationalist bloc (70 seats in the 135-seat parliament) is to step up his government’s anti-democratic attacks: here.

Spain admits spending £77m on extra police to quash Catalan independence movement: here.

Saturday, March 24, 2018: Spain: 13 Catalan separatist politicians charged by Supreme Court judge over secession attempt: here.