The 16 jailed and exiled Catalan political and civic leaders have called for an “exceptional mobilisation” on the National Day, to be held on Wednesday. In a special joint letter [Catalan version], they say that the annual pro-independence demonstration on that day should be “the best precursor” to a likely guilty verdict for the jailed politicians and the response they expect from the institutions and civil society.

After some months in which the unity of the pro-independence camp has proved fragile, especially among political parties, the letter calls for re-building common ground, “respecting the differences and nuances” of each actor. It is this unity, reads the letter, that has allowed the movement to “grow” and “go international.”

According to the 16 leaders, most of whom were cabinet members during the 2017 referendum, Catalan society “rejects repression,” in which they include the independence trial, a verdict for which is due within a month.  “The only fair sentence is the acquittal of all the people charged by different courts and the end of all the judicial and police procedures,” they say.

Democratic dignity

As a warm-up for the Supreme Court’s decision, the leaders call for the public to demonstrate on Wednesday. “On September 11 let’s fill Barcelona with democratic dignity and freedom, without fear of continuing to defend independence and the Catalan Republic as the best present and future project, and as the best democratic alternative, in the face of a state with no proposal for the Catalan citizenry and that only responds with repression and a permanent No.”

The article is signed from the three prisons in Catalonia where nine jailed leaders are incarcerated, and also from Brussels (Belgium), Geneva (Switzerland) and St Andrews (Scotland).

Some 300,000 people have already registered for the demonstration, with the organizers expecting to match the past seven September 11 protests, which were attended by at least a million people.