Condemnation of Police State Arrests in Catalonia, EU Silence Shows Complicity

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Condemnation of Police State Arrests in Catalonia, EU Silence Shows Complicity

by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)

A joint statement by 20 Catalan newspapers and journals condemned the arrests of its officials, demanded their immediate release, saying the new republic “won’t be silenced by repression,” calling their statement a manifesto for justice.

Thursday’s action and earlier one against activists Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart highlight “devastating…dramatic events of our past” under military dictator Francisco Franco, Rajoy’s regime operating the same way.

Repressive measures he ordered begin a new “dark chapter” for Spain. Lawlessly imprisoned Vice President Oriol Junqueras and ministers are legitimate Catalan officials.

The manifesto urged the international community to recognize the “legitimate aspirations” of the Catalan people, affirmed under international law.

“Democratic and national rights should be defended in a civic and tolerant way,” the manifesto said. Catalan officials were illegally deposed. Parliament was illegitimately dissolved.

Referendum day violence should never again be repeated. The following broadsheets and journals signed the manifesto to Madrid:

El Nacional, El Punt Avui, Diari Ara, Nacio Digital, Vilaweb, Directe, El Temps, Raco Catala, El Vallenc, Nova Conca, Revista Esguard, L’Opcio, Sapiens’, Descobrir, Enderrock, Bonart, El Mon, Tot Sant Cugat, Tot Cerdanyola, Tot Rubi, El Mon Terrassa, and Revista Mirall.

On Thursday, thousands of pro-independence Catalans rallied across the republic in response to the illegal arrests and imprisonment of its officials.

Thousands more responded by banging kitchen utensils from windows, front doors and balconies.

Eight roads were blocked during peak traffic hours, including Barcelona’s main Gran Via thoroughfare. Catalan rail service was disrupted.

Hundreds of university students were involved. The popular Catalan TV show Polonia, satirizing current crisis conditions, went dark for one episode.

The program tweeted: “Today there’s no show. We don’t feel like laughing.”

Deposed President Puigdemont’s home area, Girona, suspended La Copa, one of its most popular events. An explanation said “as a show of rejection against the incarceration of the government ministers, La Copa concerts have been suspended today.”

Minor union Intersindical-CSC called for a November 8 general strike. It’s unknown if other unions will join the action. More demonstrations are planned.

Brussels supports Madrid’s actions. The European Commission was silent about repressive arrests of Catalan officials.

Its spokeswoman in Brussels said arrest warrants against Puigdemont and other Catalan officials in the city will be decided by judicial authorities. The EC respects whatever they decide – no matter how illegal and repressive.

Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon condemned Madrid’s action, saying “(r)egardless of opinion on Catalonia, the jailing of elected leaders is wrong and should be condemned by all democrats.”

Few exist in Europe. None in Madrid or in high places throughout the EU, Sturgeon an exception. So is UK Labor party leader Jeremy Corbyn, and European Parliament Green/ALE co-chair Ska Keller saying:

“(I)mprisonment (of Catalan officials) doesn’t solve anything, only escalates” crisis conditions.”When will Rajoy understand that this is a political crisis, not a judiciary one? (The) EU can no longer remain silent,” she added.

The European Free Alliance (EFA) is a political coalition of pro-independence/pro-self governance regions of various countries they represent – their membership limited to progressive parties, representing a small fraction of European regionalist ones.

EFA’s president Francois Alfonsi said “Catalonia deserves freedom. If the EU doesn’t protect European values, European democracy will decay”, he warned.

“Are we ready to risk European democracy, European values, and human rights through loyalty to a Francoist party,” he asked?

He called on “all democrats of Europe” to support Catalan independence.

The problem is they’re too few in number, way outnumbered by autocrats, plutocrats, and other EU politicians opposed to democratic rights.

All is not lost. Spain’s CSIC research center political analyst Jose Fernandez-Albertos believes Madrid’s repression “is likely to consolidate (separatist) unity…at a time (it) show(ed) signs of deteriorating.”

It’s now harder for pro-independence moderates to “distance themselves from hardcore independence supporters.”

If so, we’ll see if it matters, if Catalans wanting independence from fascist Spain are activist enough to go for it.

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Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967. He remained there until retiring at year end 1999. Writing on major world and national issues began in summer 2005. In early 2007, radio hosting followed. Lendman now hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network three times weekly. Distinguished guests are featured. Listen live or archived. Major world and national issues are discussed. Lendman is a 2008 Project Censored winner and 2011 Mexican Journalists Club international journalism award recipient.