A total of 242 influential figures from all over the world have signed a “Public petition in favor of Political Negotiation on Catalonia. The document was written on October 23, nine days after the Spanish Supreme court ruling that nine of Catalonia’s independence leaders must spend 9-13 years behind bars for their role in the 2017 referendum.

The manifesto emphasizes that the Catalan government has ”repeatedly” asked the Spanish executive to begin negotiations to resolve the conflict, since so far there has been no response.

Among those to sign the document are philosophers Noam Chomsky, Philip Petit, Josep Ramoneda and Gianni Vattimo, psychologist Steven Pinker, sociologists Anthony Giddens, Ignacio Sánchez-Cuenca and Boaventura de Sousa Santos, epidemiologists Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, politician Jane Mansbridge and ex-mayor of Madrid Manuela Carmena.

The document expresses its concerns that the political situation in Catalonia has ”deteriorated in a worrying way.” Ever since the verdict to the Catalan Trial was announced, there have been weeks of protests and strikes in Catalonia, which have led to police violence, damage to city infrastructure, over 200 arrests and over 600 injuries.

Sit and talk

The document acknowledges the arrest and injury count, adding that ”the normal functioning of the civil society, and especially the education sector, has been seriously altered.” They also asked that ”judicializing the political conflict be avoided.”

It implores all parties to ”make an effort to de-escalate the social tension” and to start ”a round of negotiations in order to explore and agree on some initiatives that help to find a political solution to this conflict.”

Much like the manifesto, many of the protests have urged Spain to ”sit and talk,” and despite Quim Torra’s phone calls to president Sánchez, this is yet to take place.

However, with a new left-wing government forming between Pedro Sánchez and Pablo Iglesias in the wake of the November 10 general election and Esquerrà also opening the door to facilitating the government alliance, Catalonia can still hope for future dialogue.

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