Catalan political prisoners, anti-mass demonstrations police violence

This 15 October 2019 video says about itself:

Clashes between Catalan pro-independence protesters and police continue at Barcelona airport

A protester who lost his eye in clashes outside Barcelona’s airport was among the injured overnight Monday into Tuesday, as tensions erupted over the convictions of Catalan separatist leaders.

He was among 170 who were injured in the clashes … between angry protesters and riot police at Barcelona’s international airport and elsewhere across the north-eastern Spanish region. ..

In a landmark ruling Monday, Spain’s Supreme Court acquitted the Catalan politicians and activists from the more serious crime of rebellion for pushing ahead with a banned referendum on Oct. 1, 2017, and declaring independence based on its results.

But judges found nine of them guilty of sedition and handed down prison terms of nine to 13 years.

Four of them were additionally convicted of misuse of public funds and three were fined for disobedience.

By Alejandro López and Alex Lantier:

Spanish government threatens broader crackdown as mass protests escalate in Catalonia

17 October 2019

Mass protests and street fighting erupted in cities across Catalonia for a third night running yesterday, as police attacked workers and youth protesting the fraudulent conviction of 12 Catalan nationalist leaders after a show trial over their role in the 2017 Catalan independence referendum. Highways and train lines are blockaded, universities occupied, Barcelona’s key avenues blocked, and thousands demonstrated in cities across the region amid tense stand-offs with police.

Police are using escalating violence as protests continue against the ruling. On Monday, 121 people were injured of which 24 were hospitalised. One young protester lost his eye due to the impact of a rubber bullet, a weapon banned for the region’s police. Tuesday resulted in 51 arrests and left 125 people injured … according to Catalan health services.

Last night, Spanish … police in Barcelona again violently attacked a protest that they estimated at 40,000 people, primarily youth reported to be members of the Catalan-nationalist Committees for the Defense of the Republic (CDR) coalition. BBC correspondent Jean Mackenzie tweeted: “Just watched rows of police run up the main parade in Barcelona shooting rubber bullets into crowds of people at a candle vigil for the Catalan prisoners. Turned the situation into a scary and violent one instantly. Now thousands running from the police in every direction.”

Protesters lit fires, and violent clashes continued throughout the evening in Catalonia’s largest city. Late last night, Barcelona mayor Ana Colau reported that there were over 40 ongoing fires blockading roads or burning cars. Protesters jeered Spanish police … as they abandoned their positions on the Gran Via and fled.

Protests of hundreds to several thousand people took place in towns and cities around Catalonia, including Girona, Lleida, Tarragona, Vic, Tortosa, Terrassa, Puigcerdà, Mataró and Igualada. …

Significantly, protests in Spain extended outside of Catalonia yesterday. Thousands attended a protest on Madrid’s Plaza del Sol, holding banners defending the Catalan nationalists’ right to hold an independence referendum and shouting “Liberty for political prisoners”, “Madrid with the Catalan people,” and “Yes to the right to decide.” A group of neo-Nazis who had reportedly hidden in nearby streets attacked groups of protesters around the Plaza del Sol rally.

This 17 October 2019 video says about itself:

Spain: Clashes erupt between police and supporters of jailed Catalan leaders in Madrid

Violence broke out between riot police and protesters rallying in support of jailed Catalan leaders in Madrid’s Puerta del Sol on Wednesday.

Footage shows demonstrators blocking streets and highways, and fleeing police armed with batons.

The Alejandro López and Alex Lantier article continues:

Yesterday, tens of thousands participated in the five different three-day “Marches for Freedom” started on Catalonia’s roads called by the ANC and Òmnium Cultural. The different columns are set to converge on Friday afternoon in Barcelona, where they aim to join the demonstration convened by the pro-secessionist trade union Intersindical as part of a one-day general strike to protest the court verdicts.

Sections of the trade union bureaucracy in Catalonia, aware of growing anger among workers at the authoritarian ruling against the Catalan nationalists, have felt compelled to call protests.

On Tuesday, amid growing anger among Barcelona dockworkers, the Union of Docks of the Barcelona Ports Tweeted: “we have decided to support next Friday’s defence of labour and democratic rights of all citizens of Catalonia. … We will protest against labor reforms but also against the Supreme Court verdict.” It concluded that it was striking not “because we are secessionists, since we are a plural union that contains all political ideologies, but we see that there is a violation of civil rights and this verdict does not help resolve the conflict.”

The Sánchez government is escalating its police crackdown, working closely with the rest of the political establishment. The Interior Ministry has announced it will send 1,100 more Guardia Civil officers, adding to the 2000 Civil Guard and National Police officers already present. The Ministry has said that they will stay there at least for another month. The Ministry has also announced they are investigating Tsunami Democratic, an app which is allegedly co-ordinating protesters’ actions.

After meeting with the leaders of Spain’s main parliamentary parties, Sánchez warned that he does not rule out “any scenario”, including the invoking the National Security Law to control the region’s police or Article 155 to remove the democratically elected Catalan government. He added, “everything is planned and we will act, if necessary, from firmness, proportionality and unity.”

The far-right Vox party is calling on the [governing] PSOE to invoke article 116 of the constitution. This would mean the imposition of a state of emergency, martial law and the deployment of soldiers across Catalonia.

This 14 October 2019 video says about itself:

Thousands of people took to the streets of Barcelona and other parts of Spain after the country’s Supreme Court sentenced nine Catalan separatist leaders to between nine and 13 years in prison for sedition over their role in a failed independence bid in 2017. In Barcelona, three main streets were blocked by protesters holding signs calling for “Freedom for political prisoners” as they said the sentence was “completely unfair.” Protesters blocked train and metro access to Barcelona airport and others temporarily halted traffic on several roads across Catalonia.

By Alex Lantier:

The jailing of Catalan nationalists: Spanish government builds a police state

17 October 2019

Madrid’s sentencing of a dozen Catalan nationalists Monday to a decade in jail for sedition, followed by threats to impose a state of emergency on Catalonia after a police crackdown on mass protests, marks a major step towards dictatorship, not only in Spain but across Europe. The ruling on Monday is an infamous and illegitimate verdict by a court that is discredited by its recent statements of support for fascist rule.

The defendants, led by former Catalan regional vice-premier Oriol Junqueras, called for peaceful protests leading up to a peaceful Catalan independence referendum on October 1, 2017. Spanish paramilitary police mounted a violent crackdown on voters in that referendum, wounding over 1,000 people as voters responded to police beatings at polling stations with mass civil disobedience.

Turning reality on its head, the court claimed that this constituted not illegitimate state violence against the population, but a violent popular uprising against a legitimate state authority—and that Junqueras and others were therefore guilty of sedition for inciting it.

Amid growing calls for a general strike, a confrontation is brewing between the working class and the police state that is emerging in Spain and across Europe.

After protests again broke out Tuesday night in Barcelona against the jail sentences, Socialist Party (PSOE) Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez declared that he “ruled out no scenario” for his government’s response, as he met leaders of Spain’s major parliamentary parties. Led by the newly formed, fascistic Vox party, these parties are issuing various demands: to invoke Article 155 of the Spanish constitution to suspend the elected Catalan regional government, or to mobilize of the army.

It is an elementary task posed to workers across Spain and internationally to demand the liberation of the Catalan nationalist political prisoners and defend workers and youth in Catalonia against the threat of military repression and authoritarian rule from Madrid.

Advancing the demand to free Catalan nationalist prisoners does not imply any support for their regressive program of dividing the working class in Spain by forming an independent capitalist republic in Catalonia, or for their record of imposing social austerity on Catalan workers. Broad popular distrust of Catalan secessionism in Spain, including among a narrow majority of Catalans, is legitimate and politically justified. But their arrest is an integral part of a fascistic campaign whose principal targets are the Spanish and international working class.

By blaming protesters rather than Spanish police for the crackdown in Catalonia, the Supreme Court ruling hands the state a weapon to eviscerate fundamental democratic rights. If its grotesque and reactionary argument were to become accepted, police would need only break a nightstick over the head of a striker on a picket line, or a student occupying a university, to declare them guilty of violent rebellion against the state and hand them long prison sentences. Constitutionally protected rights to strike and to protest would be a dead letter.

The imprisonment of the Catalan nationalists is inseparably linked to a relentless campaign in the ruling class since the Catalan referendum to promote Vox and rehabilitate fascism. In June, as the Supreme Court was discussing this ruling, it briefly blocked a proposed exhumation of fascist dictator Francisco Franco, arguing that he was the legitimate “head of state from 1 October 1936 until his death in November 1975.” It thus ruled that Franco’s 1 October 1936 self-proclamation as head-of-state, four months after his fascist coup launched the Spanish Civil War, was legitimate.

The Spanish Civil War devastated cities across Spain and led to the murder of 200,000 left-wing workers and intellectuals and the detention of 400,000 people in concentration camps. Yet the Supreme Court ruled that it would be “extraordinarily harmful” to the public interest if there was not a more positive understanding of “the significance of don Francisco Franco.”

The legitimization of Francoism inevitably sharpens the Spanish state’s conflicts with Catalonia. It must be recalled that after Franco’s victory in the Spanish civil war and the Nazi occupation of France in 1940, the Nazi Gestapo handed over exiled Catalan nationalist leader Lluis Companys for execution by the Spanish fascists.

The EU and all its member states are directly implicated in the plotting of the Spanish ruling class. Junqueras, who was elected to the European Parliament from prison, could claim legal immunity as a euro-deputy. However, when the EU Justice Tribunal scheduled a hearing to determine whether Junqueras would enjoy this immunity, not a single EU member state presented arguments to the court. They all consciously, albeit tacitly, supported the Spanish bourgeoisie’s moves to legitimize fascism and scrap basic democratic rights.

The ruling in Catalonia is only the sharpest expression of the drive to undermine democratic rights and suppress protest across the European Union (EU), amid a resurgence of strikes and political protests against EU policies.

In Britain, the last week has seen the arrest of over 1,600 peaceful climate protesters in London and the Metropolitan Police imposing a citywide ban on demonstrations.

In France, where hated President Emmanuel Macron hailed fascist dictator Philippe Pétain as he launched mass arrests of “yellow vest” protesters against social inequality, police have repeatedly beaten peaceful protesters and then arrested those trying to defend themselves. The case of Christian Dettinger, a former boxer sentenced to 30 months in jail for punching a cop’s riot shield while protecting a female protester, is notorious. This followed two years of a state of emergency under which democratic rights were suspended.

In Germany, the neofascist Alternative for Germany’s (AfD) rise to become the main opposition party, in the face of mass protests, is the most dangerous manifestation of the growth of neofascism in Europe.

Nearly three decades after the Stalinist dissolution of the Soviet Union led bourgeois intellectuals to proclaim the “End of History”, the death of socialism and the eternal triumph of liberal democracy, the ruling classes throughout Europe are once again turning toward dictatorship. …

Workers in Catalonia fighting to defend their social and democratic rights must appeal to their class brothers and sisters throughout Spain, and Europe as a whole, in a common struggle for the socialist transformation of society.

On Thursday, the European Union Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that former Catalan deputy regional premier and leader of the Catalan Republican Left (ERC), Oriol Junqueras, had had parliamentary immunity from the moment he was elected to the European Parliament last June. Junqueras ran in the election from prison, where he has been held since the police crackdown on the peaceful 2017 Catalan independence referendum: here.

Spanish imprisonment for Catalan yellow ribbon?

This music video from the USA is called Tony Orlando & Dawn – Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree – DjCarnol Stereo Remastered.

This 1973 song was inspired by a story of a Union soldier in the 1861-1865 United States civil war. He had been made a prisoner of war by the pro-slavery Confederate army; but wrote to his girlfriend that he was free now and coming home; and asked her to tie a yellow ribbon around a tree to tell that he was still welcome after his years of imprisonment.

Yellow ribbons now are signs in many countries that people don’t forget others who have been away for a long time; others who have been sent to fight wars; or others who have been (unjustly) imprisoned.

Now, Associated Press and others report that a Spanish judge has threatened Quim Torra, the elected president of Catalonia with prison.

For what? Did President Torra commit murder, manslaughter, or rape? Did he smuggle a billion $ worth of cocaine, like United States JP Morgan bank did? Did that president steal a million euro; or one euro?

No, Quim Torra is threatened with being deposed as president and a prison sentence for tying yellow ribbons. Yellow ribbons in Catalonia now are a sign that people don’t forget the political prisoners. Catalan politicians were made political prisoners for organising a referendum. To which the Spanish right-wing government reacted with bloody police violence.

The United Nations (UN) Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) has called for the “immediate release” of four Catalan political prisoners currently in detention waiting for a verdict in the show trial mounted by the Spanish government, 20 months after they were incarcerated: here.

Spanish police attack mass protests against prison terms for Catalan nationalists: here.

Italy: African freed after three years of unjust imprisonment, wrongly suspected of ‘people smuggling’: here.

Domesticated foxes in Bronze Age Spain

This video says about itself:

We met the world’s first domesticated foxes

This week, we meet the very cute and very bizarre result of an almost 60-year-long experiment: they’re foxes that have been specially bred for their dog-like friendliness toward people. We do a little behavior research of our own, and discover what scientists continue to learn from the world’s most famous experiment in domestication. The fox experiment continues under the supervision of Lyudmila Trut at the Institute of Cytology and Genetics. Her book “How to Tame a Fox (and Build a Dog)”, co-authored by Lee Alan Dugatkin, details the history and science behind the experiment.

But … are foxes of this video really the first?

From FECYT – Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology:

Foxes were domesticated by humans in the Bronze Age

February 21, 2019

In the northeast of the Iberian Peninsula, between the third and second millennium BC, a widespread funeral practice consisted in burying humans with animals. Scientists have discovered that both foxes and dogs were domesticated, as their diet was similar to that of their owners.

The discovery of four foxes and a large number of dogs at the Can Roqueta (Barcelona) and Minferri (Lleida) sites stands out among the many examples of tombs in different parts of the north-eastern peninsula. These burials reveal a generalized funeral practice that proliferated in the Early to Middle Bronze Age: that of burying humans together with domestic animals.

What is most striking about these sites is the way of burying the dead in large silos, along with their dogs and a few foxes. “We discovered that in some cases the dogs received a special kind of food. We believe this is linked to their function as working dogs. Besides, one of the foxes shows signs of having already been a domestic animal in those times,” Aurora Grandal-d’Anglade, co-author of a study on the relationship between humans and dogs through their diet published in the journal Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, has said to to Sinc.

By means of studying stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes in bone collagen, as well as archaeological, archaeobiological and anthropological studies, researchers have been able to compare the diets of buried animals with their owners´ diet. A total of 37 dogs, 19 domestic ungulates and 64 humans were analyzed. The results indicate that the dogs’ diet was similar to that of humans.

The isotopic study of the Minferri foxes shows a varied diet: in some cases it looks similar to that of the dogs at that site, and in another it looks more like that of a wild animal or one that had little contact with humans.

“The case of the Can Roqueta fox is very special, because it is an old animal, with a broken leg. The fracture is still in its healing process, and shows signs of having been immobilized (cured) by humans. The feeding of this animal is very unusual, as it is more akin to a puppy dog’s. We interpret it as a domestic animal that lived for a long time with humans,” explains Grandal.

Large dogs used for transporting loads

The study points out that, in some particular cases in Can Roqueta, there was a specific cereal-rich food preparation for larger dogs probably used for carrying loads, and for at least one of the foxes.

“These specimens also show signs of disorders in the spinal column linked to the transport of heavy objects. Humans were probably looking for a high-carbohydrate diet because the animals developed a more active job, which required immediate calorie expenditure. It may seem strange that dogs were basically fed with cereals, but this was already recommended by the first-century Hispano-Roman agronomist Lucius Junius Moderatus Columella, in his work De re rustica“, says Silvia Albizuri Canadell, co-author of the work and archaeozoologist at the University of Barcelona.

Other animals, such as cows, sheep or goats are noted for an herbivorous diet. Their function was probably to provide milk, meat or wool rather than serve as a work force. “The horse was not yet widespread in those societies, no traces of it can be found until later times,” adds the scientist.

In general, humans and dogs show somewhat higher isotopic signals than ungulates, which indicates a certain (not very high) consumption of animal protein, “not necessarily much meat; they could be, for example, derived from milk,” explains Grandal. Archaeological objects included sieves that served as ‘cheese making devices’.

Moreover, men seem to have included more meat than women in their diet. As for dogs, their diet may have been mainly from leftovers of what humans ate, mostly more similar to that of women and children. “That’s why we thought they were more linked to these domestic environments,” says the researcher. There are many ethnographic parallels that indicate this relationship between women and dogs.

Feeding and treatment of foxes and dogs

The fundamental role of dogs during the Bronze Age, when livestock, along with agriculture, constituted the basis of the economy, was that of the surveillance and guidance of herds. They were also responsible for taking care of human settlements, given the risk posed by the frequent presence of dangerous animals such as wolves or bears.

“The characteristics of dogs include their great intelligence, easy trainability and, undoubtedly, their defensive behaviour. As if that were not enough, this animal was used until the nineteenth century AD in North America, Canada and Europe for light transport on its back and for dragging carts and sleds. It also functioned as a pack animal on the Peninsula during the Bronze Age,” Albizuri Canadell claims.

Some archaeological specimens from North America show bone disorders that stem from the pulling of ‘travois’. There are also accounts by the first colonizers of the use of dogs in these tasks by Indian populations until the nineteenth century AD, although they had not been identified in Europe until a few years ago.

“It was the Can Roqueta specimens under study that triggered the alarm about the use of this animal for light loads since antiquity, and they’re an exceptional case in Europe,” says Albizuri Canadell.

Similar pathologies have also been recently identified in the vertebrae of Siberian Palaeolithic dogs, leading one to think that one of the first tasks since their early domestication was the pulling of sleds and travois, in addition to hunting.

Its role as a transport animal in the first migrations and human movements through glacial Europe could have been fundamental and much more important than believed until recently.

The reason for animal offerings

Exceptional findings, such as those of tomb #88 and #405 of the Minferri site (Lleida), show that during the Bronze Age there were already well-differentiated funeral treatments in human communities.

“In the two structures mentioned above, the remains of three individuals were found together with animal offerings. In tomb #88 there was the body of an old man with the remains of a whole cow and the legs of up to seven goats. Theremains of a young woman with the offering of a whole goat, two foxes and a bovine horn were also found,” states Ariadna Nieto Espinet, an archaeologist from the University of Lleida and also the co-author of the study.

Structure #405 uncovered the body of an individual, possibly a woman, accompanied by the whole bodies of two bovines and two dogs. “We still don’t know why only a few people would have had the right or privilege to be buried with this type of offering, unlike what happens with the vast majority of burials,” the expert points out.

In Can Roqueta, clear differences have also been observed in the deposits of domestic animals within the tombs of adults, both men and women, which are even reflected in children’s tombs. From this we can infer the existence of an inheritance of social status from birth.

“It is tempting to think that if we understand domestic animals as a very important part of the agro-pastoral agro-shepherding economy of the Bronze Age and of the belongings of some people in life, these could be an indicator of the wealth of the deceased individual or of his clan or family,” argues Nieto Espinet.

“It seems that species such as bovines and dogs, two of the most recurring animals in funeral offerings, are those that might have played a fundamental role in the economy and work as well as in the symbolic world, becoming elements of ostentation, prestige and protection,” she concludes.

German extradition of Puigdemont to Spain

This video says about itself:

Spain: Solidarity march for imprisoned and exiled Catalan politicians

14 July 2018

Over 100,000 people marched in Barcelona on Saturday, to demand the freedom for political prisoners, return of exiles and an end to reprisals by the Spanish state.

The protesters marched through the city, carrying a big banner, reading “Not as prisoners, not as exiles, we want them [Catalan politicians] at home”, as well as numerous Catalan flags.

Heading the crowd was Joaquim Torra, President of the Generalitat of Catalonia. Speaking to the press, he said, “They must be released immediately. We demand from the Spanish state to release the political prisoners, and to allow the immediate return of our exiles.”

Marta Vilalta from the Republican Left of Catalonia party added, “The German justice said that there was no rebellion and no sedition, that there wasn’t violence, so they are truly political prisoners, those who are now in prison.”

The march was organised by grassroots campaigners from Òmnium Cultural, the ANC and the Associacio Catalans pels Drets Civils.

By Alejandro López in Spain:

German court authorises extradition of Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont to Spain on embezzlement charges

16 July 2018

The German High Court in Schleswig-Holstein ruled Thursday that former Catalan regional president, Carles Puigdemont, could be extradited to Spain—but only on the lesser charge of embezzlement of public funds.

Meaning using the Catalan government’s own money (not Madrid government money) to have the independence referendum.

The last time a German government extradited a democratically elected head of the Catalan government to Spain was in 1940, when nazi dictator Adolf Hitler handed over Catalan Lluis Companys to his Spanish ally Franco; who had Companys tortured to death.

The German court threw out the charge of “rebellion” requested in Spain’s European Arrest Warrant (EAW), arguing that “violent clashes with the Civil Guards or the National Police

caused by these the Civil Guards and National Police, not by peaceful people wanting to vote.

did not reach a point where the constitutional order was under threat in Spain.”

A court spokesperson said, “The court decided this morning that an extradition due to the accusation of misuse of public funds is permissible. Therefore, the court rejected the German state prosecutor’s argument that the Spanish charge of ‘rebellion’, which according to Spain’s penal code may apply only to those who ‘violently and publicly’ try to ‘abrogate, suspend or modify the Constitution, either totally or partially’, could be equated with the German penal code’s charge of ‘high treason.’”

Puigdemont still faces up to 12 years in prison if extradited and convicted of embezzlement in Spain. His lawyer has announced an appeal to the German Constitutional Court on the grounds that the former regional president cannot not receive a fair trial at home.

On Saturday, a 100,000-strong demonstration was held in Barcelona called by the nationalist organisations Òmnium Cultural and Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and attended by leaders from all the Catalan nationalist parties and … Catalunya en Comú-Podem [“Catalonia in Common–We Can”. This party advocated abstention at the independence referendum]. Under the slogan “No Jail, Nor Exile, we want you back home”, the march demanded freedom for the eleven secessionist leaders still held in custody in Spain on rebellion charges for their part in last year’s declaration of independence and for Puigdemont and other former ministers to be allowed to return without fear of reprisals.

The new Catalan president, Quim Torra, told the protestors that the court decision proved that the accusation of rebellion was a “fictional story” and that the independence movement “will come out again and again until the prisoners and ‘exiles’ return home.”

In Spain, the Supreme Court has yet to respond. If it rejects the ruling, Puigdemont would be free in Germany (but facing arrest if he leaves that country, as the warrant remains in effect elsewhere in Europe). If the Supreme Court accepts the ruling, it would throw into confusion the fate of the imprisoned secessionist leaders. Their lawyers have now called for their release, insisting that the decision of the German court “should have an impact.”

Puigdemont declared the court ruling a victory. He tweeted, “We have defeated the main lie upheld by the state [Spain]. German justice denies that the referendum on October 1 was rebellion”, adding, “Every minute spent by our colleagues in prison is a minute of shame and injustice. We will fight to the end, and we will win!”

In Germany, the press concluded much the same as Puigdemont. The Frankfürter Allgemeine Zeitung declared, “Puigdemont triumphs—a little.” Der Spiegel pointed out the “strange” anomaly created whereby Puigdemont could not be judged on the same charges as those imprisoned in Spain, while the Süddeutsche Zeitung warned that Germany had become “involuntarily an actor in the conflict in Catalonia, in which the German government had largely stayed on the sidelines.”

In Spain, the newly installed minority Socialist Party (PSOE) government announced it would abide by the ruling, although it is a clear rebuke to the line the party has pursued in the Catalan crisis. In October last year, the PSOE supported the right-wing Popular Party (PP) government’s crushing of the referendum in Catalonia, leaving 1,000 protestors injured, the imposition of an unelected government in the region and the arrest of the Catalan nationalists.

Reacting to the German ruling, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said “the important thing in terms of Spanish justice” was that those involved in the independence bid last year “are judged by the Spanish courts.” He added that the situation in Catalonia needed “much dedication” and patience and “will not be resolved in a day, two months or five months.”

To that end, on Monday, Sánchez and Torra agreed to relaunch bilateral committees between the two governments, which have been inactive for the past seven years. Negotiations are also taking place on Catalonia being granted greater control over its financing, railroad and airport facilities.

The separatist parties—Puigdemont’s Together for Catalonia (JxC) and Catalan Republican Left (ERC)—have in practice abandoned unilateral independence and are seeking to strike a deal with Madrid that will result in greater regional powers. These forces agree that though there is no Catalan state yet, running day-to-day affairs in this way would be good because it constitutes “making a republic.”

One of Torra’s main demands is the reinstatement of over a dozen Catalan laws suspended by the Constitutional Court on the instigation of the former PP government. “We’re ready to lift the vetoes on those laws”, said PSOE Deputy Prime Minister Carmen Calvo, while warning against any attempts to resurrect the independence process.

While Torra celebrated the German court ruling and demanded freedom for the political prisoners “now more than ever”, Spain’s main [righ-wing] opposition parties, the PP and Citizens, and the Madrid-based media reacted furiously.

PP spokesperson in the European Parliament, Esteban González Pons, urged Sánchez to “suspend the application of the Schengen Treaty in Spain as many other countries of the [European] Union have done, until we clarify whether the EAW serves for something or does not serve at all.”

Citizens leader Albert Rivera also attacked the EAW, saying it was “regrettable” that it seemed to be “an instrument for the benefit of fugitives.” He welcomed as “good news” the ruling that Puigdemont could be extradited for embezzlement, because he would have to “face” Spanish justice and “pay” for spending public money on a “coup d’état.”

The pro-PSOE daily El País celebrated the fact that Puigdemont would be jailed if he were extradited, but declared, “The truth is that the German decision places the Spanish judicial system in a blind alley.”

The newspaper commented that if the Spanish courts “surrender” and accept the ruling, “it will be impossible to apply the principle of legal equality, since the prisoners of the [independence] process will be judged for rebellion, while the former regional premier, charged for the same cause, would be judged for a misdemeanor of embezzlement.”

The right-wing El Español appealed to Supreme Court judge Pablo Llarena to reject the extradition with “the firm idea that the fugitive should be judged on rebellion.”

It warned that the ruling “gives oxygen to the jailed coup plotters and helps to weaken the accusation against the pro-independence activists. All this at a very delicate moment, with a weak government in Spain that may be tempted to use this ruling … to promote detente with the Catalan government.”

The only national party to welcome the ruling was Podemos. Elisenda Alamany, spokesperson for Catalunya en Comú-Podem, asked Spain’s prosecutor to “withdraw” the charges of rebellion against Puigdemont leader because they “no longer hold up.” Alamany insisted that the judicialisation of politics “brings no solution.”

PUIGDEMONT WARRANT DROPPED Spanish authorities have dropped a European arrest warrant for former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont over his part in last year’s independence referendum. [CNN]

Yesterday, the Spanish Supreme Court abandoned its attempts to secure the extradition of deposed Catalan regional President Carles Puigdemont from Germany back to Spain. … The PP backed far-right anti-Catalan protests singing the “Cara al Sol” anthem of former fascist dictator Francisco Franco and threatened Puigdemont with the fate of Catalan regional President Lluís Companys, whom Franco had shot [after Hitler extradited him]. Army chief General Fernando Alejandro identified Catalonia as a military threat to Spain: here.

Germany extraditing Puigdemont to Spain

This video says about itself:

Protests in Barcelona after former Catalan president arrested

25 March 2018

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.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Carles Puigdemont, the leader of the separatist movement in Catalonia, will be extradited to Spain by Germany.

The last time a German government extradited a democratically elected head of the Catalan government to Spain was in 1940, when nazi dictator Adolf Hitler handed over Catalan Lluis Companys to his Spanish ally Franco; who had Companys tortured to death.

The justice department in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein has decided this on the basis of a judgment of the court in that state.

Today’s judgment said that it is possible to extradite Puigdemont for misappropriation of government money,

meaning using the Catalan government’s own money (not Madrid government money) to have the independence referendum

but not for rebellion.

Which may be a crime in Spain, but not in Germany. However, once Puigdemont will be in a Spanish jail, the Schleswig-Holstein court cannot stop Spanish judges from convicting Puigdemont for ‘rebellion’ as well. Spanish judges, many of whom were law students during the Franco dictatorship. Many of whom owe their jobs to the right-wing Popular Party, founded by an ex-minister of dictator Franco.

The prosecutor general then announced that the Catalan will be actually sent to Spain. …

In Catalonia, Puigdemont was succeeded by Quim Torra as president of the Catalan region. He had a talk this week with the new Spanish Prime Minister Sanchez about the future of the autonomous region Catalonia.

Will social democrat Sanchez stop the persecution of his right-wing predecessor Rajoy against Puigdemont and other Catalan political prisoners; against anti-monarchist rapper Josep Valtònyc; and in persecuting being drunk in a pub, or doing puppet theatre, as ‘terrorism’?

Spain to establish truth commission over Franco crimes: here.

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.

Supporters demand freeing of political prisoners

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.

The Catalan separatist Candidatures of Popular Unity (CUP) party has publicly denounced a coordinated and overt campaign of police spying directed against it. At a press conference last Thursday in front of CUP headquarters, National Secretary Núria Gibert and former deputy Mireia Boya explained that the police have been spying on them for over a year, since before last October’s Catalan independence referendum, and are continuing to do so: here.

Catalan separatists indicted for rebellion, facing jail for up to 25 years: here.

At least 200,000 people—500,000 according to the organizers—marched in Barcelona on Saturday against the show trial of 12 Catalan nationalist leaders, which began last week in Madrid. The trial is being held in the aftermath of last Wednesday’s collapse of the Spanish government. The defendants are being prosecuted on fraudulent charges of sedition and rebellion for organizing the 2017 referendum on Catalan independence from Spain. They face a possible sentence of up to 25 years in prison: here.

Over the last two weeks, Madrid has launched a judicial frame-up of Catalan nationalist politicians and leaders in a public show trial. Their prosecution on charges of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds for organising the 2017 independence referendum is groundless and reactionary: here.

Spain’s Public Prosecution Office and Solicitor General are pursuing charges for rebellion against 36 voters in the 2017 Catalan independence referendum. Their supposed crime is to have complained about police violence: here.

The United Nations (UN) Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) has called for the “immediate release” of four Catalan political prisoners currently in detention waiting for a verdict in the show trial mounted by the Spanish government, 20 months after they were incarcerated: here.

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.

Catalonia rocked by a week of strikes against austerity: 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.

SCOTTISH First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is expected tonight to meet a former Catalan minister facing extradition to Spain. Clara Ponsati, an economist, is being chased by the authorities in Madrid for alleged “violent rebellion” for her involvement in the region’s bid for independence: here.

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.