Are people losing interest in Catalonia’s pro-independence demonstrations?

Yesterday the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) released initial data on this year’s pro-independence rally, with the main headline being that registrations for the event have fallen 25%.

Every year since 2013, the pro-independence organisation has organised a large protest in support of independence on 11 September, Catalonia’s national day. So far 37,500 people have registered to take part in this year’s demonstration, a fall of one quarter compared to this time last year.

The drop in registrations was gleefully reported by the Madrid-based media, with El Mundo’s headline recalling that it is the lowest uptake in six years, while El País says that the reduction comes in the middle of division within the pro-independence movement. Catalan media sympathetic towards independence also recognised the fall, with El Nacional, El Punt Avui and VilaWeb all reporting the registration data.

The division between the two main secessionist political parties Junts per Catalunya (Together for Catalonia) and Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (Republican Left of Catalonia) is well documented, particularly since local elections in May, following which both parties formed post-electoral pacts with unionists across Catalonia.

In the midst of the political division, the ANC decided that this year’s demonstration should be about highlighting that, wherever people come from, their objective is the same: the independence of Catalonia. To achieve this, they are focusing the protest on Barcelona’s plaça d’Espanya, where demonstrators will merge from the five main surrounding streets and form the shape of a star. The motto for this year’s demonstration is Objectiu independència, or Objective independence.

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VilaWeb: The ANC will leave politicians outside the Diada protest guest zone

This is a translation of an article from Catalan newspaper VilaWeb entitled “L’ANC deixarà els polítics fora de la zona de convidats de la manifestació de la Diada“. VilaWeb publishes some of their own articles in English here.

Political party leaders will not have access to the guest zone for this year’s Diada protest organised by the Catalan National Assembly (ANC). They have been excluded. This was decided by a broad consensus by the entity’s national secretariat, after having received the unease of many local ANC groups for the lack of strategic unity between the pro-independence parties, expressed, in addition, with pacts such as the one between Junts per Catalunya and PSC in the Provincial Deputation of Barcelona and ERC’s abstention in Pedro Sánchez’s investiture vote in the Spanish Congress. Sources in the ANC have confirmed this to VilaWeb.

This morning, one of the members of the secretariat, Joan Marc Jesús, published the decision on Twitter:

Translation
Eh @sergisabria @elsa_artadi @Aurora_Madaula @martavilaltat
You will have to take your selfies with the people on foot. That way you can also take the opportunity to listen to what we ask for. #ObjectiuIndependència

This implies that this time the ANC will not be sending invitations to institutional representatives and political parties to attend the Diada event from the guest zone. The only ones who will be there will be representatives from the Association of Municipalities for Independence (AMI), due to the collaborative relationship between the two entities.

Jordi Cuixart: Let the impotence of the sentence become hope

On Thursday, Jordi Cuixart, the President of Omnium Cultural, wrote a letter to all members of the Catalan association which was published on their website under the headline “Carta des de la presó: ‘Que la impotència de la sentència es converteixi en esperança’“. This is a translation of the full letter into English.

Dear all,

Once again I am writing to you from Catalonia. Just a few hours have been enough to feel the solidarity of all of you. Infinite thanks.

The movement of the political prisoners closer to home is nothing more than a reflex of the democratic regression of the state. They want us to be discouraged and surrendered, and so the sentences will be hard and will hurt us. But believe me, there is only one way and it is to do it together.

Remember that no social conquest has ever been gifted. If we do not punish ourselves, if we do not give up sharing everything, if we know how to be united and act in a generous and empathetic manner, we will leave. But we must do it with coherence and determination, with culture as the principle element of social cohesion and limitless democracy.

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Amnesty International: At the end of the oral trial, Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sànchez should be released on bail

Amnesty International have once again called for the immediate release of the Catalan civil society leaders Jordi Sánchez and Jordi Cuixart from provisional detention. In a press release on their Spanish website entitled “Concluido el juicio oral, Jordi Cuixart y Jordi Sánchez deben ser puestos en libertad provisional“, they say they have written to the Spanish Prosecutor to demand the release of the Jordis, and express concern about the nature of the criminal offences of which they have been accused. This is a translation of the full press release.

At the end of the oral trial, Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sànchez should be released on bail

18 June 2019

Since we were informed of their imprisonment, Amnesty International has repeatedly stated that Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart should be released immediately. Now, the conclusion of oral trial before the Supreme Court is the time to review their situation of provisional detention and proceed to release them. Both have been in provisional detention since 16 October 2017. The Spanish courts have denied their release on numerous occasions. The organisation has sent a letter to the Public Prosecutor, insisting on this once again, and regrets that yesterday they were informed negatively against the release of Jordi Sànchez.

In its writs of 11 April and 14 May 2019, the Supreme Court referred to the development of the oral trial as “an element of indispensable deliberation” which advised ruling out Jordi Sànchez’s freedom, and recognised that any preventative measure involving the deprivation of liberty “is aimed, precisely, to ensure the defendant’s presence during the oral trial”.

With respect to Jordi Cuixart, the ruling of the Constitutional Court on 7 May 2019, which dismissed his appeal against the resolutions which denied his petition for provisional release, indicated that the said resolutions took into account the temporary proximity of the oral trial, in line with constitutional jurisprudence, which recognises as a legitimate aim of provisional detention ensuring the presence of the accused in the trial.

Amnesty International warns that, according to international standards of human rights, the longer provisional detention is prolonged, the greater the need for a rigorous examination to determine if it remains necessary and proportionate.

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Junts per Catalunya close European election campaign in London

Arriving to a standing ovation and cries of “independence”, President Carles Puigdemont and ministers Toni Comín and Clara Ponsatí brought their whistle-stop tour of European cities to The Wesley Hotel near London’s Euston Station, promising to be the voices of Catalonia’s political prisoners and exiles in the European Parliament.

Introducing them, Anna Forn, daughter of one of those political prisoners, said that the Spanish judiciary’s decision to detain the Catalan politicians, yet to be convicted of any crime, for up to a year-and-a-half (and counting) was “a shame for the European Union”. “But,” she added, “we have three free voices who have challenged the Spanish state from the first moment in exile.”

Forn referred to Puigdemont, Comín and Ponsatí, who head the list for Junts per Catalunya – Lliures per Europa (“Together for Catalonia – Free for Europe”) in Spain, a country they have not been able to return to since they left for exile in October 2017. Forn’s father, Quim, is the Junts per Catalunya candidate for mayor of Barcelona, an election taking place on the same day as the European Elections in Spain and Catalonia. If elected (and polling suggests he will win a seat in the town hall, but will not come close to the mayoralty), he will not be able to take up his seat or his role, in the same way other political prisoners were prevented from taking their seats in the Catalan Parliament following the election in 2017. He is, however, still allowed to campaign from the videoconference room at Soto de Real prison in Madrid. Like many of the political prisoners, he has appeared via live feed at numerous campaign events in Catalonia’s capital city, and given media interviews, all timed around the tight prison and judicial schedule.

Forn, the younger, said she was in London to give her father the voice he wanted to have, to be the spokesperson for the situation they found themselves in. For her, she said, it was with pride she introduced Puigdemont, Comín and Ponsatí, members of the government “who made the 1st October referendum possible.” She was not the only one.

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