Over 30,000 Pro-Independence Supporters March in Barcelona, Showing Strength Despite Repression

Barcelona saw a massive pro-independence protest earlier today, as thousands of people took to the streets to demonstrate against the Sánchez-Macron summit. The rally was organized by pro-independence organizations and gathered over 30,000 people, making it one of the largest independence demonstrations in the last few months.

The protest showed strength for the independence movement in Catalonia, and highlights the ongoing tensions between the country and Spain. The demonstrators called for culminating independence and an end to repression. They also demanded that the Spanish and French governments respect the right of the Catalan people to self-determination.

The rally was interrupted by police violence at moments. Many participants carried Catalan independence flags and banners with slogans such as “Catalonia is not Spain” and “Freedom for Catalonia.” The demonstration was a reminder that the independence movement is still very much alive.

Spain’s King meets with the general who wanted to intervene Catalonia in 2017

Last week, Spain’s King Felipe VI met with ex-chief of the Defense General Staff (JEMAD), Fernando Alejandre, the general who designed a plan to deploy the army in Catalonia in the aftermath of the 2017 independence referendum. This meeting took place during an event to commemorate the fortieth anniversary of the completion of studies at the various Spanish military academies.

In one of his books, Alejandre stated that he had designed a plan to deploy the army in Catalonia in the aftermath of the independence referendum. According to him, this plan had been accepted by the then minister of defense, María Dolores de Cospedal (PP). The intention was to respond to the independence movement in the event that the Catalans’ vote led to the implementation of independence.

Alejandre affirms that the orders to implement the plan were active for eight seconds, the period of time that the Unilateral Declaration of Independence lasted on October 10th, 2017 before being suspended by President Carles Puigdemont in order to facilitate negotiations. Since the independence of Catalonia never did go beyond those eight seconds, the military plan was not deployed.

The Spanish government says that they knew nothing about the military plan, though there could be documents proving the opposite.

EU Parliament report: The Spanish government spies on Catalans

The EU Parliament inquiry into espionage with the use of Pegasus, a surveillance spyware, suggests that the Spanish government is behind the mass spying on the Catalan independence movement. According to the report, the espionage “shows a clear pattern” and included, spying on court cases against independence leaders, mass demonstrations, and communications of exiles and several Catalan leaders.

In a conference in Brussels, Dutch MEP Sophie in ‘t Veld, the inquiry committee rapporteur, stated that Spain was “probably” NSO Group’s first client in the European Union. The NSO is the Israeli company behind the Pegasus spyware.

Sophie in ‘t Veld: “There is evidence that Catalan politicians and others have been monitored, spied upon, while presenting no imminent, immediate threat to national security. We invite Spanish authorities to give us more information, so we can assess the situation in this very delicate matter.”

In ‘t Veld: “It is deeply worrying when there is no accountability.” She also called for sending a delegation to Spain to further investigate the case.

Reactions in Catalonia

President Pere Aragonès: “In a democracy, you don’t spy on your political opponents. We must get to the bottom of the matter.”

Foreign minister Meritxell Serret: “We celebrate the warning that has been issued to Spain.”

Òmnium and the Catalan National Assembly (ANC): “Spain is prepared to be discredited internationally before backing down.”

CUP party called for Spanish Justice Minister Margarita Robles and Interior Minister Fernando Grande Marlaska to step down while demanding the Catalan government to stop “dialogue” with the Spanish government, warning that it is not possible to negotiate with those who are spying on you.

Junts and ERC also called for an international investigation into the matter.

The Spanish government has so far ignored the EU parliament’s findings and has defended their “tackling” of the case.

Catalan civil society to demand independence on September 11th and October 1st

Catalan civil society will demand independence on September 11th and October 1st with what are expected to be mass demonstrations.

September 11th

This year, the traditional demonstration organized by the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) for the Diada of Catalonia on September 11th will start in Plaça Espanya at 5.14 pm and will end at Estacio de França via the Avinguda Marquès de l’Argentera, where political speeches will take place. The slogan of the protest will be: “Let us go again for victory: independence.”

October 1st

The Catalan Council for the Republic, the Catalan National Assembly (ANC), Òmnium, and other diverse organizations have called for mass demonstrations and events on October 1st to commemorate the 2017 independence referendum.

The main protest will start at Arc de Triomf in Barcelona at 5 pm. In parallel, the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and Òmnium will organize decentralized events across the territory, such as spending the night at the schools used as polling stations during the 2017 referendum.

This year’s protests will take place at a time when the Catalan government refuses to take decisive steps towards independence despite having a clear popular mandate. The success of the demonstrations will determine whether the government re-thinks its strategy and puts the independence struggle on the agenda again.

Spain’s government to keep state secrets confidential for up to 60 years

The Spanish government has approved a new bill that will let the state keep secrets confidential for up to 60 years. The bill will grant the Spanish Ministry of the Presidency the authority to propose the declassification of documents. For now, this power rests with the Ministry of Defense.

The new law establishes four categories of protection of official secrets: top secret, secret, confidential, and restricted. Depending on the category of documents, the declassification terms range from 4 to 60 years.

In this way, the ministry led by Félix Bolaños will assume the authority to recommend the declassification of documents. However, the final decision will ultimately rest with the council of ministers, at least for documents with a higher degree of protection.

Catalan pro-independence parties oppose this law, arguing that the Spanish administration wants to continue hiding what happened during the Transition and the 23-F coup attempt.

Over 4,200 Catalans suffer repression from Spain for defending the right to self-determination

Over 4,200 Catalans have suffered repression by Spain for peacefully defending the right to self-determination, according to Òmnium Cultural.

“The repression of the Spanish state must be transformed into more civic commitment, more democratic struggle, and more social empowerment,” said the President of Òmnium, Xavier Antich, during an event in Barcelona.

Antich also denounced that the judicial and political persecution of the independence movement is far from over: “The Spanish state has long since ceased to be the guarantor of fundamental rights to become the main perpetrator of its violations.” For this reason, he urged civil society to organize to take advantage of the fight against repression with the ultimate goal of exercising the right to self-determination.

According to figures by Òmnium more than 4,200 people have been retaliated due to political reasons since September 20, 2017. These include 1,432 investigated in criminal proceedings and 1,639 victims of police violence from October 1st to 4th, 2017, and from the protests regarding the independence trial sentence in 2019.

Òmnium has also launched the digital platform antirepressiva. “We have to show the repression of the Spanish State to the world because the state is responsible for the violation of rights by its executive and legislative powers, the police, and the media,” denounced Antich, who added: “They want us to mourn and stay at home; but we take pride in it and show our antirepressive solidarity.”

Spain’s government refuses real dialogue with Catalonia

The Pedro Sánchez administration once again refuses real dialogue with Catalonia and denies the existence of a conflict that was previously recognized by the international community.

Sánchez wants to gather the “negotiating” table between Catalonia and Spain in the last week of July, even though his administration has already warned that important matters will not be discussed. His intention is to whitewash his international image by staging a photo opportunity.

This is happening at a time when the Supreme Court could soon revoke the pardons granted to the 9 pro-independence social civil society leaders and politicians who led the 2017 independence bid. The pro-independence camp has demanded amnesty since the struggle was democratic and no crimes were committed. Amnesty would also prevent the Supreme Court from taking political action in order to unfairly jail Catalan leaders again.

The negotiations between the Catalan and Spanish governments were initially aimed at resolving the ongoing conflict. However, they have only gathered a couple of times in over two years without any results. No even serious discussions have taken place in those meetings.

It is clear, then, that the Spanish government does not want to discuss Catalan independence or amnesty. Instead, it wants to pretend as if Catalonia is no longer pushing for it. Despite the fact that its citizens voted for independence in the last election.

It is also clear that the only possible solution to the conflict necessarily involves letting Catalans exercise their right to self-determination.

Spain refuses to comply with the recommendations of the Council of Europe for human rights in Catalonia

The Council of Europe’s Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights has published the follow-up report to its previous resolution regarding Spanish political issues. The resolution, issued in 2021, called for the release of Catalan political prisoners, legal reform involving sedition, and the end of repression against the independence movement.

In the report, the EU Council rapporteur, Boris Cilevičs, criticizes the extradition orders against Catalan exiles; and the possible overturning of the pardons given to the political prisoners.

“It would be very unusual and unfortunate if the pardons, once announced and implemented to release the nine prisoners, were annulled,” Cilevičs said.

Cilevičs also denounces the fact that the Spanish state has not reformed the crimes of sedition and rebellion in the penal code.

“The reform of the rebellion and sedition laws cannot be postponed too long,” he said, regretting that it was not on the Spanish government’s agenda presently. According to him, this reform is key to Spain’s compliance with Council of Europe standards.

The vast majority of the recommendations made in the report approved in June last year have not been implemented by the Spanish authorities. Even pardons – the only decision made in line with the recommendations – are now threatened by the Supreme Court.

On the extradition orders, the rapporteur criticizes the fact that they are still maintained, especially after the pardons were granted.

“The arrest warrants and extradition requests make no sense, in view of the pardons granted to the nine Catalans imprisoned for the same reasons for which those living abroad are demanded,” he said.

The report refers to the decision of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) and the temporary restoration of the immunity granted to the exiled MEPs Carles Puigdemont, Antoni Comín, and Clara Ponsatí. It was considered that “they were in serious danger of being arrested” and this temporary immunity will be in place until the Spanish judiciary withdraws the court orders issued against them.

In addition, he believes that the state must ensure that the charge of embezzlement “is applied in a way that a person is liable only when effective and quantified losses can be proven in the state budget or assets.”

The rapporteur criticizes the fact that the lawsuits against low-ranking officials for the 1-O remain open, as well as that the successors of the imprisoned pro-independence leaders who have been penalized for “purely symbolic actions that express their solidarity with the detainees.”

The report also mentions “Catalangate,” which considers a fact linked to the 1-O crisis. According to the rapporteur, it is necessary to investigate cases of espionage using the spyware Pegasus in order to “restore confidence in Spanish institutions.”

No resignations yet within the Spanish government over the mass illegal espionage of Catalans

The Spanish government has once again refused to take responsibility for the illegal mass espionage of Catalans. It has refused an independent investigation and dismissed the ministers of interior and defense, who are believed to be behind the scandal.

When confronted by journalists earlier this week, the Spanish administration said that an independent investigation was not needed because all their actions had “always respected the current legislation.” However, it was proven that there were no court orders for the majority of those who were spied on.

Spanish government espionage affected not only Catalan leaders, but also activists, lawyers, their families, and ordinary people who had never been active in politics.

In any real democracy, an independent investigation would have already taken place and the ministers behind the irregularities would have already been dismissed. This fascist attitude shows the willingness of the Spanish administration to use illegal tools against the Catalan pro-independence movement with one single goal: its total destruction.

The sooner the independence movement realizes that the Spanish right and the pseudo-left are united to destroy a democratic movement, the sooner it will be prepared for the next attempt to achieve full independence.

Spain’s army battalion receives blessings at the fascist monument Valley of the Fallen

A battalion of the Spanish Army received the blessing from the abbot’s Santiago Cantera Montenegro at the fascist monument Valley of the Fallen. This is the newest scandal for the Spanish army because of its links with the Franco regime and the far-right.

In photos posted on social media, the soldiers can be seen kneeling on the ground and presenting their weapons to the abbot.

“May the Lord bless and always keep those who serve the homeland under this banner […]. May the Lord look kindly on Spain and grant it peace with all the peoples of the world,” said Cantera.

According to the newspaper Público, battalion sources said that the blessing ceremony took place last week and was organized by the captain, identified as J. L. P.

It should be noted that Abbot Cantera has repeatedly revealed his far-right ideology. In addition to openly opposing the exhumation of Franco’s remains, he was twice on electoral lists of the fascist Falange Española Independiente between 1993 and 1994.