Rally against judicialisation of politics "empowers Catalan institutions" to go ahead, says Catalan Government

Many representatives from the Catalan Government attended on Sunday the demonstration in Barcelona to defend the Catalan institutions from Spain’s legal attacks. “The rally empowers the institutions to continue the process towards independence”, Catalan Government Spokeswoman Neus Munté stated. The politician referred to the demonstration as “the best contrast between the decay of a political system, the Spanish one, which persecutes democracy, and one nation and the Catalan institutions that stand up for it and which will continue to do so”. “Any true democrat should feel challenged by what is happening”, she added. Several Catalan Government representatives are facing court cases sought by the Spanish Government for having staged the 9-N vote in 2014.  Those politicians summonsed include Catalonia's former President, Artur Mas, the Parliament’s President, Carme Forcadell and former Catalan Ministers, Joana Ortega, Francesc Homs and Irene Rigau. All of them attended the protest. 

Close-up of one of the banners seen at the rally organised by AMI, the ANC and Òmnium the 13th of November 2016. On it, the sentence: 'You'll never walk alone'.
Close-up of one of the banners seen at the rally organised by AMI, the ANC and Òmnium the 13th of November 2016. On it, the sentence: 'You'll never walk alone'. / ACN


November 14, 2016 03:24 PM

Barcelona (CNA).- About 80,000 people gathered together on Sunday to rally against Spain’s judicialisation of politics and the summonsing of several elected representatives. Several members of the Catalan Government attended the protest. Among them was the Catalan Government’s spokeswoman, Neus Munté, who stated that the demonstration “empowers the institutions to continue the process towards independence”. “Any true democrat should feel challenged by what is happening” and by “the persecution of elected representatives, of freedom of expression, the normal functioning of our sovereign parliament and the members of the government who contributed to putting out the ballot boxes”, she added. Demonstrators showed their support for the elected representatives that have been prosecuted by Spain’s justice for complying with the electoral mandate that emerged from the 27-S Catalan elections and allowing the 9-N symbolic vote to take place.

“Today's event gives the institutions, the Government, the Parliament and the elected representatives of Catalonia more strength”, stated Munté. “We know that we are not alone and that we have an important shared challenge, which is taking the process towards independence forward for welfare, rights and liberties and the defence of democracy”, she added.

The Catalan President, Carles Puidemont, could not attend the rally in Barcelona, but supported the demonstration from his home village in Girona, Amer, which named him ‘favourite son’ on Sunday. “For each democrat today in Catalonia there will be a voice that will rise up clear against the drift of the central government and Spanish politics in general”, he stated.  “This nation will decide freely through the ballot boxes and what link they want to have with Spain”, Puigdemont stressed. The President also emphasised the need to “dialogue” and to find “political solutions” to respond to Catalonia’s pro-independence aspirations rather than using the courts to stop them.

Summonsed representatives attended the rally 

The representatives summonsed by Spain’s justice for allowing the pro-independence roadmap to be put to vote and complying with the democratic mandate of the 27-S Catalan Elections attended the demonstration.

Former Catalan President Artur Mas expressed his gratitude to the 80,000 people that packed Barcelona’s Maria Cristina Avenue on Sunday and also to those that “could not come, but really support the cause of Catalonia’s freedom”.  “We will not surrender, we will move forward, we know what is at stake, we know the importance of what we are doing, we know that such opportunities are not common and we want to make the most of this one, and we will break our backs so that this country can go forward now and in the future”, he stressed.

Mas also explicitly referred to the prosecution for “disobedience” that four Catalan representatives are facing, himself included: “We believe that we did not disobey, because our intention was not to disobey, but simply to obey the will of the people of Catalonia, which is very different”, he stressed. “We’ve taken a risk to obey the people of Catalonia, who have expressed this message and this mandate at the ballot box”, Mas added.

In the same vein, former Catalan Minister for Education Irene Rigau, who is also charged with disobedience, said that the aim of the rally was to “claim the right to democratically decide the future of the country”.  

Former Catalan Minister for Presidency and now Catalan coalition ‘Democràcia i Llibertat’ leader in the Spanish Parliament, Francesc Homs, stated that the rally was “dedicated to Mr. Rajoy” and “to all the people in Spanish politics who believe that democracy is a wall and not a way out”. “The determination of the Catalan people will continue, no matter how many supplications the Spanish Government approve in the next days”, he stated.  Homs is being investigated for disobedience, perversion of justice and misappropriation of public funds for co-organising the 9-N symbolic vote on independence in 2014. 

“I don’t think they will suspend me”, Parliament President says

The President of the Parliament, Carme Forcadell, who is being investigated by Catalonia’s Supreme Court (TSJC) for perversion of justice and disobedience for allowing the pro-independence roadmap to be put to vote last July, stated on Sunday that she is not afraid of being suspended from office. “I don’t think they will suspend me, because in a democracy the MPs are the ones who choose and suspend the President of the Parliament”.

Forcadell also stated that Sunday’s rally was not “about one person or another, but about defending democracy” and showing that the Catalan people “back the institutions”, because the elected politicians represent the citizens. 

Berga’s Mayor, Montse Venturós, who was arrested last week for refusing to take down a pro-independence flag from the Town Hall’s building on two Election Days was also in the demonstration, together with CUP’s councillor in Vic, Joan Coma, accused of ‘insurrection’ for calling for disobedience against the Spanish institutions in a plenary session. 

Venturós recalled that “Spanish state repression didn’t start with the elected representatives; it goes back a long way, decades back”. “We defend disobedience as a political tool to move on and to question this legality that we consider illegitimate because it doesn’t recognise fundamental rights, which are being directly attacked by the Spanish Government, such as the right to self-determination, which is inalienable”.