Barcelona’s mayor has called the arrest of a pro-independence protester on terrorism charges “outrageous” and has warned about “trivializing” such a serious issue. “It is a fact that there is no violence in Catalonia, the only terrorism we have seen is what took place on the Rambles in August,” mayor Ada Colau said in a radio interview on Wednesday morning.
On Tuesday, Spanish police used anti-terror laws to arrest a woman from the network of protest groups known as the Committees for the Defense of the Republic (CDR), accusing her of coordinating pro-independence protests. The woman, who was arrested in Viladecans in Baix Llobregat, is to appear before the Spanish National Court on Thursday to answer charges of terrorism and rebellion.
"Offensive" to terror victims
Colau was critical of the Spanish judiciary, claiming there are an increasing number of legal professionals “who dare to speak out against the use of penal law as a way of criminalising political adversaries.” The mayor said one could “disagree” with the CDR’s methods, but she said linking the protests to terrorism is “offensive” to terror victims. Colau called for an end to the “politics of cruelty” and said the only way is to “sit at the table of political negotiation.”
While the woman accused of being a “coordinator” of CDR protests is being held in the Madrid region awaiting her court appearance, Spanish police are looking for a man from Esplugues de Llobregat. The National high court is investigating both CDR members for “leading and coordinating acts of sabotage” following the arrest of deposed president Carles Puigdemont in Germany. CDR protests cut off major highways and opened up toll booths.
CDR protests “not terrorism” says socialist leader
Colau’s rejection of the terrorism charges were echoed by the leader of the PSC Catalan socialist party. Miquel Iceta said the protests organized by the CDR could not be linked to terrorism. “We have seen roads cut off, protests on motorways, graffiti, the odd act of local vandalism, but not terrorism,” he said in a radio interview. Although the PSC opposes the independence of Catalonia, Iceta compared the acts of the pro-independence protesters to dubious incidents that can occur during a strike, “but they are not terrorism,” he said.