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Tensions at far-right events in the campaign spotlight

Parties react to weekend clashes between anti-fascists and police as countdown to election enters final week

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08 February 2021 07:27 PM

by

ACN | Barcelona

The election campaign turned ugly over the weekend with tension and protests at campaign events involving the far-right party Vox, who, according to polls, are set to win seats in the Catalan parliament for the first time.

On Saturday, around 500 anti-fascist supporters gathered in Vic in central Catalonia where there were objects thrown and clashes with the Catalan police, the Mossos d'Esquadra, with further disturbances in Salt and Valls.

Four parties have now signed an agreement pledging not to do a deal with Vox "under any circumstances."

A group called United Against Fascism and Racism put forward the manifesto, signed by Esquerra (ERC), CUP and Catalunya-En Comú Podem (CatECP) on Saturday, with Junts per Catalunya (JxCat) following suit.

Peaceful protest urged

Jéssica Albiach of the left-wing CatECP defended people's right to speak out against Vox but urged protesters to remain peaceful.

"In no way do we advocate violence while protesting, but as well we understand the distress people feel about a party such as Vox entering parliament," she told the media on Monday.

The interior minister, Miquel Sàmper of the pro-independence party JxCat, accused Vox of provoking protesters and not complying with law enforcement.

The next week should be about debates, he said, "not about the violence that results from provocations from candidates who systematically ignore security instructions from police."

The Socialists' Salvador Illa criticized the protests, saying the far right must be "fought with ideas and not by throwing stones."

Something "awakening in Catalonia"

Ignacio Garriga, the main candidate for Vox in the elections said that the events in Vic and elsewhere were "evidence that something is awakening in Catalonia."

Garriga added that Vox campaign events would continue throughout the week. "We're not going to suspend any events of our campaign; the opposite: we're going to put on a lot more."

Election rerun would be "failure"

Meanwhile, Dolors Sabater, of the far-left pro-independence party CUP has said that a rerun of Sunday's upcoming election would be a "failure", but so too would a rerun of the past three years.

Any support, therefore, from her party for a pro-independence government would be subject to "control and monitoring measures," she told the Catalan News Agency (ACN) on Monday.

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