Various organizations denounce assault by far-right Spanish nationalist group
Deposed vice president Oriol Junqueras publishes op-ed from prison on Madrid condemning the violence
A far right group assaulted a 29-year-old man this weekend in the town of Mataró following a demonstration for the unity of Spain. The attack has elicited many responses, including a protest with thousands of people, outcry from several political and civic groups – even an article written from prison by deposed Catalan vice president, Oriol Junqueras.
The march in support of the unity of Spain took place on Saturday afternoon and the attack, according to Police sources, was registered at about a 7:45pm. This was when 15 to 20 people assaulted a 29-year old individual who was just then leaving his house. The victim was allegedly struck and punched in the face several times. Taken to the Mataró Hospital, the individual has so far not filed a formal complaint yet.
A protest of 2,000 denounces fascism
In response, a 2,000-strong protest against the attacks was called immediately afterwards, on Sunday evening. Organized by the Defense Committee of the Republic in Mataró (CDR), it denounced the fascist aggressions as well as what they see as tolerance for these acts from the central government. The demonstrators also cut off traffic for half an hour.
The mayor of Mataró, socialist David Bote, also expressed his anger through social network. “I strongly condemn the assault and any type of violence,” wrote Bote to his Twitter profile. The assault also elicited comments from the leaders from the conservative People’s Party (PP) and far-right anti-immigration Plataforma per Catalunya (PxC), José Manuel López and Mònica Lora, who headed the march on Saturday after which the incident occurred. López (PP) stated that “violence is never justifiable” and hopes that the perpetrators be harshly punished.
Despite a graphic video of the attack circulating on social media, showing the attackers draped with Spanish flags, Lora (PxC) focused on the timing of the event. “Proud of the demonstration,” she wrote, clarifying that “there was no aggression” in the march, but instead simply in the town of Mataró. This, she wrote, she “condemns.” Lora ends by writing “enough manipulation.”
“We’ve already shown that in Catalonia one million people can demonstrate festively without vandalizing a single trash can”
Oriol Junqueras · Deposed Catalan vice president
Oriol Junqueras accuses the PSC of “complicity” and “silence” on the matter
Yet, simple statements after the fact issued by political parties aren’t enough to curb the violence, according to deposed vice president of the Catalan government Oriol Junqueras.The dismissed minister denounced the assault as well as the general reaction from political parties in an op-ed article,written from the Madrid Estremera prison where he’s currently held. The article was published in the Nació Digital and Público newspapers.
In his piece, Junqueras demands that the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) condemn this extreme violence seen in the streets. What’s more, the deposed official, previously also the Minister of Economy, asked the readers why the Socialist Party “repeatedly encourages participation in mobilizations where violent aggression occurs.” “How can it not speak and protect, through silence and complicity, this violence?” he asks.
As per the assailants themselves, Junqueras criticizes that if you’re “beaten” by a far right group “in defense of Spain’s unity,” that ultimately “nothing happens” to the assailants. The dismissed Catalan vice president ends his article with a call to the Catalan people. He asks them to uphold the values of respecting the fundamental rights of others, coexistence, and the peaceful expression of one’s ideas, “whatever they may be.” “We’ve already shown that in Catalonia one million people can demonstrate festively without vandalizing a single trash can. Let everyone take this as an example, please,” he concludes.
Political parties demand “more force” from institutions
Also condemning the aggression were two political entities, green left alliance ICV-EUiA and Catalunya en Comú coalition in Mataró. The two “strongly” denounced the assault, as well as demanding more of a reaction from political and social forces. In a statement, the two political groups rejected the events and urged the town to “open an in depth debate regarding the causes behind this type of event.” The two groups additionally criticize the current context of “judicialization” of politics which “unfortunately favors the emergence of these groups of a violent and fascist nature,” they wrote.
The two groups additionally point out, in their statement, that this attack “is not an isolated event,” which is why they demand “more force” from other institutions to suppress political groups that espouse a fascist ideology. Their statement also denounces the fact that racist dialogue has become “socially normalized.” Inasmuch, they claim that messages spread by parties like PxC and PP “have very negative effects on the coexistence and cohesion” of Mataró.
Lack of condemnation equals “giving implicit support”
Civil society group the Federation of Neighborhood Associations of Mataró (FAVM) issued a statement on Monday regarding the assaults. The entity also called on institutions and political parties to publicly reject this kind of behavior. Indeed, they state that anyone who does not condemn the actions will be “giving implicit support” to the assaults, explained FAVM president Juan Sánchez.