Spanish army was ready to act in Catalonia, says defense minister
“We hope this does not mean more violence against peaceful people,” Catalan Parliament president answers
The Spanish army was ready to act in Catalonia at any time in the peak of the tension between Barcelona and Madrid this autumn. This is what the Spanish defense minister, María Dolores de Cospedal, said in an interview to ABC newspaper on Saturday. “We were ready because we had the obligation of being ready, otherwise we would be useless,” she said. “I would not have had any sense of responsibility, nor the military commands, if they had not been ready for any eventuality,” she added.
Cospedal also praised the Spanish army because “there has not been any comment, any inappropriate comment, and any misinterpreted action” by soldiers in the past few months despite the tension. Yet she did not comment on the video of a man on a Spanish tank threatening Carles Puigdemont. The Catalan Parliament president, Carme Forcadell, answered the Spanish defense minister via Twitter. “We hope this does not mean more violence against peaceful, democrat and defenseless people,” she wrote on the social network.
Imprisoned leaders for the Three Kings Day
Forcadell published another tweet referring to the four pro-independence leaders who have been in prison for more than 2 months. “Today is a sad day, the Three Kings will come, but 4 fathers will not be able to be with their kids, we want you home,” she said on the Three Kings Day’s Eve. According to the tradition, three kings coming from the East deliver presents to Catalan children in the small hours of January 6.
"Four fathers unfairly imprisoned will not be with their children living this magic moment today"
Josep Rull · Catalan territory minister
The Catalan Parliament president was not the only one remembering the four leaders in prison, including the Catalan deposed government vice president, Oriol Junqueras. One member of the same cabinet, Josep Rull, who was also in prison for 32 days, said on Twitter that “four fathers unfairly imprisoned will not be with their children living this magic moment today.” He added that they are “hostages of the Spanish state.”
The Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, also deposed by Madrid, also said that Junqueras and the other three incarcerated leaders are “hostages” following the decision by the Spanish Supreme Court on Friday to keep the former in prison. Puigdemont is still in Brussels and would be very likely to take office as president again if he returned to Catalonia in the coming weeks –risking being arrested and imprisoned.
Alternative to Puigdemont as president?
Some pro-independence voices have an open debate about a possible alternative to Puigdemont if he does not return. Yet his number 2 in the Together for Catalonia candidacy, Jordi Sànchez, in a Madrid jail, said that “it is a waste of time” talking about alternatives because he is the only option.