What is Tsunami Democràtic?

Anonymous pro-independence group on mission to make Spain negotiate through non-violent protest

The organization led protesters to the airport on Monday (by Elisenda Rosanas)
The organization led protesters to the airport on Monday (by Elisenda Rosanas) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

October 16, 2019 01:53 PM

The name Tsunami Democràtic (Democratic Tsunami) has been in the headlines a lot in recent days, in particular surrounding the protests against the Supreme Court's sentencing of Catalan independence leaders to between nine and 13 years in prison.

Tsunami Democràtic operates on messaging app Telegram in a group chat that as of 1pm on Wednesday had around 280,000 members, a figure that continues to rapidly increase. It was the protest that Tsunami Democràtic called on Monday, following the court's announcement of the verdicts, that managed to bring Barcelona airport to a standstill.

Yet what, or who, Tsunami Democràtic is remains something of a mystery, as reflected in the words of Spain's acting interior minister, Fernando Grande Marlaska, who said on Tuesday after the airport protest that "sooner or later we will find out who is behind it."

The network responded defiantly to that pledge in an interview with the 'Nació Digital' online newspaper: "We have no fear. The problem is not being fearful or aware of the consequences. The problem is that there is no alternative."

The movement's anonymous representatives went on to advise the interior minister, and the Spanish government in general, not to look for who is responsible, but to sit at the negotiation table and discuss a possible solution to the Catalan conflict.

Insisting it has no links with other pro-independence groups or political parties in favor of secession, Tsunami Democràtic - the name refers to the expression used by jailed activist leader Jordi Cuixart - says it is privately funded and is committed to nonviolent protest.

The group shed some light on what it represents in a statement released this week, in which it stressed its intention to continue protesting "within the strict framework of the discipline of non-violence," which it said is a "basic strategy of our movement."

It also encouraged supporters to download and install its app to allow for "more precision and efficiency" in preparing for a large demonstration rejecting the leaders' sentences on October 26, before which the movement says it will not organize more protests.

Claiming to grow stronger by the day, Tsunami Democràtic's statement ends by saying its aim is to "guarantee mass civil disobedience," and it makes reference to the words of India's pacifist leader, Gandhi: "Non-violence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind."