Mass protest to flood streets of Barcelona today
The demonstrations, set at 5pm, demand the immediate release of all ‘political prisoners’
At 5 pm today, protesters from all over Catalonia are set to take to the streets to denounce the incarceration of Catalan civil society leaders and deposed government ministers. This demonstration is planned in heart of Barcelona, and its organizers are hoping it’ll be one of the biggest yet.
The rally’s slogan is 'Llibertat presos polítics, som república' (Freedom for political prisoners, we are the republic). Indeed, the demonstration was organized by the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and Òmnium Cultural, pro-independence grassroots organizations whose leaders, Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart respectively, are currently in prison awaiting charges for sedition. In a different trial, eight of the deposed Catalan government ministers are also incarcerated in different penitentiary centers in Madrid, pending charges of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds. Also charged with the same was president of Catalan Parliament Carme Forcadell, who however is out on bond after paying €150,000 bail and spending one night in prison.
"Because what is at risk is democracy itself"
Marcel Mauri · Òmnium Cultural spokesperson
The family members of jailed political leaders and officials are to lead today’s demonstrations, as well as family members of those currently in Brussels. The aim of today’s protest, along with the release of “political prisoners,” is to reproduce the mass demonstration of recent September 11 national day, said ANC vice president, Agustí Alcoberro, and Òmnium spokesperson, Marcel Mauri on Thursday. So far, some 574 coaches bringing participants to Barcelona have already been confirmed, according to the organization spokespeople.
The organizing entities hope that the demonstration will be “inclusive, open, and wide-ranging,” and that “any democrat” take part, “because what is at risk is democracy itself,” as stated by Mauri. What’s more, the Òmnium spokesperson also stressed that the demonstration should be “radically peaceful and nonviolent.”
The protest will take place on Barcelona’s Marina avenue, from Pujades street as far as Icària avenue, which is close to the Catalan Parliament. Both the ANC and Òmnium Cultural are hopeful for today’s turnout, arguing that the day-long stoppage “gives us confidence for Saturday’s demonstration,” said Mauri.