On Saturday, the unionist far right-wing party C’s (Ciutadans) together with other ultra organizations such as the Civil Catalan Society and the Spanish media, launched a large-scale disinformation campaign to criminalize Catalan independentism and generate violence across the country.
In the evening, C’s reported, without providing any type of evidence, that one of its members (a Russian nationalized Spaniard) had been attacked by an independentist who punched her face and shouted, “Go back to your country” because apparently, she was removing yellow ribbons (a symbol to call for the release of Catalan political prisoners) from the Parc de la Ciutadella in Barcelona.
Minutes later, the Spanish media and C’s leaders spread news of the incident in social networks using fake images, including one of a woman who had undergone cosmetic surgery. The woman was sporting a large facial splint over her face and several bruises.
Yellow ribbons: An independentist breaks a woman’s nose reported the Spanish newspaper “Crónica Global.”
“That is how they have left Lidia for removing [yellow] ribbons. Her children were in front of her, but that has not prevented the aggression. TORRA GUILTY,” said Spanish journalist Yolanda Couceiro.
“More information about the criminal who breaks the nose of a woman for removing yellow ribbons,” said the Union of Mossos (Catalan police) for the Constitution.
“They have broken the nose of a woman in front of her children for removing yellow ribbons in Barcelona. Mr. Sánchez, there is no “normality” here. Defend millions of Catalans, who are being attacked by separatism and stop whitewashing those who break the coexistence in Catalonia,” said Inés Arrimadas, the President of C’s in Catalonia.
“We are going to report to the Prosecutor’s Office the aggression for hate crime of the xenophobic separatist who broke Lidia’s nose in front of her children for removing yellow ribbons in Barcelona. Zero tolerance with nationalist totalitarianism,” said Albert rivera, the leader of C’s in Spain.
“ATTENTION! The politics of hatred and the criminalization of the dissident of @QuimTorraiPla [President Torra] takes its first victim. Assaulted for removing yellow ribbons; She is in the hospital right now,” tweeted the far right-wing organization Civil Catalan Society (SCC).
Almost in tandem, the Mossos d’Esquadra (Catalan police) confirmed that there had been an attack made against a woman, a Russian nationalized Spaniard, but that it was for non-political reasons. They reported that the alleged attack occurred in the Parc de la Ciutadella in Barcelona.
According to the unionist newspaper “La Vanguardia,” the attack occurred following a heated discussion between a Ciutat Vella resident who was walking his wheelchair-bound mother and a female member of the C’s. According to witnesses, the man would have shouted at the children of the victim, using profanity language, because they tore down the yellow ribbons and threw them to the ground while they were playing. He accused the three minors of littering the city.
When the mother defended her children, the aggressor told for her to go back to her own country and punched her in the nose. All this, without any political allusion to the yellow ribbons, political prisoners, or independentism.
At that moment, the victim’s husband intervened and grabbed the aggressor by the neck to separate them. Shortly after he attended to the woman and the children. Three Catalan police officers, who were in the area and who had been alerted about the events, appeared. They called an ambulance and identified the woman and the man.
The police reaffirmed that the aggression had nothing to do with any political reason, which contrasts with the version of C’s, the Spanish media, and the Catalan Civil Society, which rapidly launched a misinformation campaign to criminalize independentism by linking the incident with a fascist “angry” independentist who didn’t want a Spaniard to remove yellow ribbons.
On Sunday, the Catalan Public Television TV3 spoke to the alleged aggressor who said that the incident was a simple fight, and he also received a bite. He recognized that he insulted the woman and punched her in her face. But he claimed that it was not an aggression, but a physical confrontation, and said that he had reported the facts to the Catalan police. He also admitted that he reacted badly and that the discussion increased in tone and became a fight in which he had struck the woman in the face with force.
On Monday, the victim of the aggression recognized herself that the aggression was not for political reasons. And her husband admitted that her wife did not have her nose broken as the Spanish media, unionist parties, and other organizations reported during the weekend.
Even though it had been confirmed that the incident was not for political reasons, C’s continued carrying out its disinformation and confrontational campaign during the weekend in an attempt to criminalize Catalan independentism and depicting that Catalan society as broken. They also announced that they will hold a demonstration in Barcelona on Wednesday in support of the “victim” and against independentists, though the alleged aggressor wasn’t an independentist. Thus, Cs appears to be adopting Joseph Goebbels’ strategies of disinformation and lies:
“A lie told once remains a lie but a lie told a thousand times becomes the truth” — Joseph Goebbels
Over the last year, the unionist far right-wing parties C’s, the PP, and other organizations such as the Catalan Civil Society have been attempting to divide Catalan society in order to avoid independence. They have launched confrontational campaigns and endorsed violent organized squads armed with knives, cutters, and sticks, which remove yellow ribbons from the streets, and occasionally enter private properties and attack peaceful independentists across Catalonia every night. Thus their goal appears to be clear: divide society by creating a social conflict close to a “civil war” to prevent any implementation of the Catalan Republic in the near future.
Whether they will succeed or not is still unclear, but what is certain is that if Catalan independentism is able to remain united and strictly peaceful as well as keep organizing massive permanent demonstrations in the next few months, an important number of unionists could join the cause, and the conditions for the implementation of the Catalan Republic could be met soon.