Spanish police attack protests demanding release of Catalonian leaders


Spanish police attack protests demanding release of Catalonian leaders

Paul Mitchell and Alejandro López

30 March 2018

Protests have broken out throughout Catalonia following last week’s Supreme Court ruling ordering 25 separatist leaders, including former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont, to be put on trial on charges of rebellion, contempt and embezzlement.

The protests have been met with bloody police reprisals. On Sunday, demonstrations organised by the Committees for the Defence of the Republic (CDR), controlled by the pseudo-left Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP), led to clashes that left nearly 100 people injured. Catalan regional police shoved and hit demonstrators with batons to keep them from advancing on the office of the Madrid government’s representative in Barcelona.

Throughout the week, the regional police repeatedly intervened to remove protesters blocking main motorways with burning barricades.

In Barcelona, demonstrators have attempted to close the Diagonal Avenue, one of the main city routes, with banners reading “Freedom for political prisoners” and “General strike!”

Puigdemont, who fled Spain last October following the declaration of independence, was arrested under a European Arrest Warrant in Germany on Sunday. He faces extradition to Spain and 30 years in prison. Spanish National Police have since arrested two Catalan policemen (Mossos) and a historian who accompanied Puigdemont and charged them with concealment, which carries a three-year jail sentence.

The 25 charged include 13 former ministers of Puigdemont’s regional government. Among the charged are Deputy President Oriol Junqueras, the former Speaker of the Catalan Parliament, Carme Forcadell, and five members of her committee. Then there are the secretary general of the main…

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