Protests as Spanish president visits Catalonia
Pro-independence groups prepare to show Pedro Sánchez he is "not welcome in Catalonia" when Socialist leader arrives for party campaign event
Pro-independence protesters will greet Pedro Sánchez when the Spanish presidential candidate visits Catalonia on Wednesday for a Socialist Party pre-election campaign event to be held in Viladecans, just south of Barcelona.
The Pícnic per la República civil protest group has called a demonstration outside the venue holding the meeting for 6 pm to call on Sánchez to "Sit and Talk", the slogan for the campaign promoting dialogue between Spain and Catalonia
On social media, the protest group asked protesters to bring chairs and drums to show Sánchez that "he is not welcome in Catalonia," but also to call on the acting president to engage in dialogue with the Catalan executive.
"He is a president who was an accomplice in 155 [shorthand for the suspension of Catalan self-rule in 2017], and he and his government are responsible for police repression," said the message, in reference to the authorities' handling of recent protests.
The Committees for the Defense of the Republic (CDR) protest network announced its support for the demonstration, calling on protesters to bring a "yellow whistle" [yellow is symbolic of jailed Catalan independence leaders] and to turn Viladecans into "a prison."
On Wednesday evening, CDR called on demonstrators to take to Jardinets de Gràcia in the center of Barcelona and bring chestnuts for a "Castanyada contra Espanya" (castanyada against Spain.) A 'Castanyada' in Catalan means eating chestnuts, a seasonal food traditionally paired with sweet potato enjoyed around the end of October and beginning of November.
Sánchez denies manifesto points were removed
Sánchez will arrive in Catalonia for the campaign meeting after his Socialist Party came under fire, accused of removing any mention of its commitment to federalism and its recognition of the nationalities within Spain from its election manifesto.
With a new Spanish general election set for November 10, on Tuesday some media outlets reported that the so-called Granada and Barcelona declarations that the party officially adopted in 2013 and 2017 respectively had been removed from the manifesto.
On Wednesday morning, Sánchez told a Spanish TV channel that the final document "has not yet been finished" and that the two points would appear in the party's final manifesto for the upcoming election, which is due to be approved at the event in Viladecans.
"The problem is that documents are made public before they have been finished," Sánchez told Antena 3, adding that the program without the two points had been "leaked" and that his party can "sometimes be too transparent."