Spain’s judicial crackdown on Catalonia’s pro-independence protests: over 600 new indictments in six months

Alerta Solidària reports stepped-up repression in the wake of the protests that followed the announcement of the verdict against the leaders of the 2017 independence bid

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Protest at la Jonquera’s motorway border crossing in November 2019
VilaWeb / Catalan News Agency
24.02.2020 - 09:48
Actualització: 24.02.2020 - 10:48

Catalan legal support group Alerta Solidària claims that over six hundred fresh indictments have been issued in the last six months against people who took part in street protests. Not long ago they reported that over 200 people alone were facing charges as a result of traffic disruption in a non-violent protest staged by Tsunami Democràtic —the anonymous online group— at la Jonquera’s motorway border crossing. This was in addition to a further 350 people who were indicted following several other protests against the prison sentences imposed on Catalan independence leaders.

Alerta Solidària reports that more than 240 people were arrested during the days that saw the strongest protests, 30 of whom were jailed on remand. Most of them were released pending trial a few weeks later, but eight protestors were either deported (they were foreign nationals) or are still being held in prison. Furthermore, a string of indictments was issued against other protestors: 92 people who allegedly cut off the C-17 motorway at Granollers and the N-340 in Terres de l’Ebre, plus a further ten arrests (including one in Tarragona this week by Spanish police and another in Barcelona city by the Mossos d’Esquadra). Additionally, this week three people have chosen to ignore a court summons they were served in connection with a sit-in that caused disruption to the high-speed railway service in Girona.

Alerta Solidària has emphasised that such a large number of arrests “is evidence, once again, of the stark contrast there is between the crackdown launched against pro-independence protestors and the leniency shown towards violent assaults carried out by Spanish unionist and fascist groups”. Alerta Solidària also claims that the stepped-up repression is clearly due to “increased protests that have managed to ruffle the feathers of the Spanish establishment, which remains unfazed by periodic, massive demonstrations, often numbering in the hundreds of thousands (like on Catalonia’s National Day). However, protests of a different nature can alter —effectively and for an extended period of time— the peace imposed by force, the sort of peace that is actually the acquiescence of the fearful in the face of injustice and lack of freedom”.

Alerta Solidària praises the response elicited “by this fresh batch of indictments” and claims they merely help to “strengthen the muscle tissue of anti-repression organisations like ours at national level, as well as local and regional groups across the nation”.

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