Novelists Dan Brown and Irvine Welsh speak up about Catalonia
Irvine Welsh criticizes EU’s silence on the jailing of grassroots civil society leaders
Irvine Welsh criticizes EU’s silence on the jailing of grassroots civil society leaders
The Spanish government is politically persecuting the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and Òmnium Cultural, warned the two organizations on Tuesday following news that they have been fined an additional €90,000. The Spanish Data Protection Agency is asking them to pay this fine for having a non-operative database in the United States while a new international protocol for data stored in this country was being drafted. The fine comes after the Spanish authorities levied a €240,000 fine against each of these two organizations, widely known in Catalonia for their work organizing huge demonstrations in favor of independence. The ANC and Òmnium say that they are being financially strangled simply because they promote the organization of an independence referendum.
Representatives from several pro-independence civil society organisations joined Parliament President, Carme Forcadell, on her way to the Court. Forcadell testified this Friday for having allowed a democratic debate on Catalonia’s independence in the Catalan Chamber on the 27th of July. Pro-independence grass-roots organisations the Catalan National Assembly (ANC), Òmnium Cultural, the Association of Municipalities for Independence (AMI) and the Catalan Association of Municipalities (ACM) highlighted the wide support for the representative. Indeed, the President of AMI, Neus Lloveras, said that the backing for Forcadell was a “demonstration of the unity and strength” of the pro-independence movement in Catalonia. The president of the ANC, Jordi Sànchez, deemed Forcadell’s prosecution “absolutely unjustified” and the president of Òmnium, Jordi Cuixart, said Catalonia is facing “a critical hour” and has to show “unity and firmness”.
The Catalan Government paid tribute last Sunday to the 309 victims and their families that have been recognised as victims of Franco’s regime since 2009, the last time such a ceremony took place. During the event, which took place in Universitat de Barcelona’s auditorium, the Catalan Minister for Foreign Affairs, Raül Romeva compared “with due respect to the obvious differences” the justice of Franco’s dictatorship and that of the current Spanish State. “Today there are still echoes of the Francoist melody” he said, referring to the “interference of the Spanish Government in the judicial system”. Moreover, Romeva stated that despite having overcome the Francoist dictatorship, which reigned in Spain from 1939 until the dictator’s death in 1975, it still has to be proved whether Spain’s democracy “is worthy of the name”.
The main pro-independence associations in Catalonia, the Catalan National Assembly (ANC), Òmnium Cultural and the Association of Municipalities for Independence (AMI) have organised a rally this Sunday the 13th of November to protest against the judicialisation of politics. “It is time to say we’ve had enough” ANC’s President, Jordi Sánchez, stated earlier this week. According to the organisers, the civil society has repeatedly “shown its strength” through massive pro-independence rallies and now it is time to do it again. One of the most talked-about examples of Spain’s use of the court in order to stop Catalonia’s pro-independence aspirations and the peoples’ right to vote was the summonsing in October last year of former Catalan Artur Mas and former Catalan Ministers, Joana Ortega, Francesc Homs and Irene Rigau for co-organising the 9-N symbolic vote on independence. However, there are more than 400 towns and villages which have cases pending with the Spanish State for different political reasons.
The Catalan National Assembly (ANC), Òmnium Cultural, the Platform Pro Catalan Sports Selections and the group of jurists ‘Drets’ (‘Rights’) will distribute 30,000 Catalan pro-independence flags at the Champions League match between FC Barcelona and Celtic FC taking place this Tuesday at Camp Nou. The initiative comes after UEFA’s €30,000 fine of FC Barcelona for the displaying of these flags during the Champions League final in Berlin last year. According to the Union of European Football Associations, the fine was issued because it officially condemns in Article 16.2 of its Disciplinary Regulations "the use of gestures, words, objects or any other means to transmit any message that is not fit for a sports event, particularly messages that are of a political, ideological, religious, offensive or provocative nature".
Barcelona; Salt, next to Girona; Berga, in Central Catalonia; Lleida in the West; and Tarragona in the South beat this Sunday afternoon all at once to demand Catalonia’s Independence. At 17:14 (5.14 pm CET) all the demonstrators lifted a yellow card in the shape of a circle symbolising a heartbeat and responded to the motto ‘Go ahead, Catalan Republic’. According to local police up to 900,000 people took part in the five rallies. Among the demonstrators was the Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, who didn’t follow the path of the former president, Artur Mas, and chose to participate in the rally held in Salt.
This year’s demonstration to celebrate Catalonia’s National Day on the 11th of September will be held simultaneously in five different cities all over the territory: Barcelona, Salt, Berga, Lleida and Tarragona. Nearly 380,000 people have already registered to take part in some of these events, united under the motto ‘A punt’ (‘We are ready’). According to the organisers,Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and Òmnium Cultural, this year’s mobilisation aims to symbolise two things: that Catalonia “is ready to achieve the republic” and that the citizens have already reached “the final stage” of the pro-independence process, the presidents of both the civil society associations explained. In the different places where demonstrators are expected to gather, the same concrete action will have to be carried out at 17:14 – symbolising 1714, the year in which Catalonia was defeated by Bourbon troops and lost its institutions.
On the 11th of September, Catalonia commemorates the day when it was finally defeated by the troops of absolute king Philip V in 1714. That day Catalonia stopped being recognised as a nation and lost its self-government. Since 2012, mass demonstrations have been added to the commemoration of this historical day and have become known worldwide as rallies that measure Catalans’ feelings and political demands. This year, the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and Òmnium Cultural, the two main civil associations behind the last pro-independence mobilisations on the 11th of September, have organised actions to take place in five different cities all over the territory: Barcelona; Salt, in Girona; Berga, in Central Catalonia; Lleida; and Tarragona. Under the motto ‘A punt’ (‘We are ready’), the demonstration aims to symbolise that Catalonia “is ready to achieve the republic”.
The Parliament’s President, Carme Forcadell, encouraged the citizens to take part in the pro-independence mobilisation organised once again by the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and Òmnium Cultural to celebrate Catalonia’s National Day. “This country will be what its people want to be and what they express on the streets”, she stated this Thursday. Forcadell confirmed she will attend the demonstration on the 11th of September in Tarragona and insisted on the need to celebrate Catalonia’s National Day “in freedom”, as happens “in every country in the world”. Forcadell, who is a founder and former president of the ANC and was therefore one of the main organisers of the last years’ successful demonstrations, stated that since 2012 the Catalan society has “unequivocally” expressed its collective will.
Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, announced this Wednesday that he will take part in the pro-independence demonstration organised by the civil society associations Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and Òmnium Cultural for the 11th of September. This year’s demonstration will be held in five different cities; Barcelona, Berga, Lleida, Salt and Tarragona. Puigdemont will attend the mobilisation in Salt, the closest city to Girona, where he was mayor between 2011 and 2016. “Politicians are the least important on that day, it is civil society which will play the most important role”, stated Puigdemont. He will be the first Catalan President to attend the pro-independence mobilisations held on Catalonia’s National Day; former President Artur Mas repeatedly refused to so while he was head of the Catalan executive.
The Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and Òmnium Cultural, the two main civil organisations behind the massive pro-independence demonstrations held since 2012 on Catalonia’s National Day, have presented their project for the upcoming mobilisation on the 11th of September. The new campaign, called ‘A punt’ (‘We are ready’), aims to mobilise Catalans in five different cities all over the territory: Barcelona; Salt, in Girona; Berga, in Central Catalonia; Lleida; and Tarragona. The presidents of both organisations invited all those who support holding a referendum on independence to join the demonstration and explained that the motto ‘A punt’ symbolises two things; that Catalonia “is ready to achieve the republic” and that the citizens have already reached “the final stage” of the pro-independence process.
The Catalan government has decided to recognise Muriel Casals, one of the Catalan pro-independence movement’s central figures, who died last Sunday, with the Gold Medal of the Generalitat. The award is the highest prize given to those individuals or institutions whose work in the political, social, economic, cultural or scientific field has been outstanding. President of the civil society association Òmnium Cultural between 2010 and 2015, Casals was responsible for the massive pro-independence rallies which have taken to the streets of Barcelona for the past six years. In 2015, she joined pro-independence cross-party list 'Junts Pel Sí' and ran for the 27-S Catalan Elections. Recently, she was named president of the Study Committee for the Constitutive Process, responsible for setting the basis for Catalonia's roadmap towards independence.
Pro-independence cross-party list 'Junts Pel Sí' MP Muriel Casals died this Sunday at the age of 70. Former president of civil society association Òmnium Cultural, Muriel was one of the greatest exponents of the pro-independence movement in Catalonia. Recently, she was named president of the Study Committee for the Constitutive Process, responsible for setting the basis for Catalonia's roadmap towards independence. Together with Carme Forcadell, Parliament's President and former president of pro-independence grassroots organisation Catalan National Assembly, Muriel was responsible for the massive pro-independence rallies which have taken to the streets of Barcelona for the past six years. Casals had been in hospital since the 30th of January, after being hit by a bicycle in Barcelona. She failed to recover from a traumatic brain injury.
Catalan civil society association Òmnium Cultural will organise a massive event this Friday to pay tribute to Francoism's forgotten victims and condemn the crimes committed during Franco's dictatorship. The homage coincides with the 40th anniversary of General Francisco Franco's death, who died in bed afterwinning the Spanish Civil War, with the aid of Hitler and Mussolini, and leading a regime of terror that lasted 36 years. Different to what happened in Germany or Italy after their fascist regimes, Spain started a transition period towards democracy but many crimes were left unpunished. The homage will take place in Barcelona's Model prison, since it was "a symbol of repression and torture" during Francoism, stated Òmnium's president, Quim Torra. Òmnium has also written a document which "condemns the dictatorship" and urges for the "victims' reparation".