Thousands Rally in Barcelona Demanding Release of Detained Politicians

Barcelona has been dyed yellow. Some 315,000 people, according to the Guardia Urbana, 750000 according to the organization- have taken to the streets on Sunday at noon to demand the release of prisoners independence leaders imprisoned in Madrid in a demonstration called by crosscutting the Espai Democràcia i Convivència of the hand of social, cultural organizations, unions and political parties.
"We love you at home." This is the primordial clamor of a mobilization that has flooded the popular avenue of the Paral·lel of the Ciudad Condal, between Plaza España and the Tres Xemeneies park . A demand to demand the freedom of the nine former members of the Govern and Parlament and visible faces of sovereign entities imprisoned by the procésunder accusations of rebellion and, in some cases, of embezzlement; as well as the return of the "exiles".

And this Monday will be half a year that the president of Òmnium CulturalJordi Cuixart , and the former president of the ANC and deputy of JxCat, Jordi Sànchez , are in provisional detention. 164 days have been led by former Vice President Oriol Junqueras and former Interior Minister Joaquim Forn . For their part, ex-consellers Jordi Turull, Raül Romeva, Josep Rull and Dolors Bassa have spent nearly two months in pretrial detention - between November and now - while Parmement's former president Carme Forcadell has spent 24 days in prison. The protesters have not forgotten the politicians displaced to Belgium -Toni Comín, Meritxell Serret and Lluís Puig -, Switzerland - Anna Gabriel and Marta Rovira -, Great Britain - Clara Ponsatí - and Germany - Carles Puigdemont . A long list that has led parties and organizations to say enough, as underlined by the motto of the concentration: "For the rights and freedoms, for democracy and cohesion, we want you at home!".

The organizers wanted to emphasize the transversality of the mobilization. Thus, they have converged today on the street ANC and Òmnium with the unions UGT and CC.OO. , as well as other entities such as Unió de Pagesos, Associations Veïnals de Catalunya (CONFAVC), the Federació d'Associacions de Pairs i Mares de Catalunya (FAPAC) or the Unió de Federacions Esportives de Catalunya (UFEC). On the political scene, representatives of JxCat, PDeCAT, ERC, Demòcrates, CUP and the commons have converged In this sense and in comparison to other mobilizations of sovereignty, there have been less stelades and more posters with messages asking for freedom.

Space Democracy and Coexistence

The manifesto calls for "dialogue" to solve "a political problem" and demands the release of the prisoners and "the return of the exiles"

The manifesto of the Espai Democràcia i Convivència -which Quim Jubert, Natàlia Dufresne and Ismael Benito have read- has sustained its "unitary defense of the Catalan institutions and the right of the Catalans to decide their future" and their "firm commitment to the result of the 21-D "."Political problems must be solved in the political sphere and through dialogue and negotiation," they stressed. For all this they have insisted on the motto of the concentration: "We demand the freedom of all politicians and imprisoned leaders, as well as the return of the exiles".

Jordi Cuixart's wife, Txell Bonet , and Jordi Sànchez's son, Oriol Sànchez , have also spoken. They have read words written by the president of Òmniun and the former president of the ANC from Soto del Real: "They are moments of injustice but also of hope, all of you are the motor of the struggle for freedom for a future without sacrifices for anyone. Unity, dignity and courage, "says Cuixart. "Thank you for not forgetting, do not let yourselves be frightened, continue fighting for civic rights in a peaceful way", defends Sànchez.
Among the party leaders who have been seen by the demonstration are Marta Pascal , Xavier Trias (PDeCAT); Elsa Artadi (JxCat); Pere AragonèsJoan Tardà , Marta Vilalta (ERC), and Xavier Domènech and Elisenda Alamany (common). They have also been the president of the ANC, Elisenda Paluzie , and the vice president of Òmnium Cultural, Marcel Mauri . Paluzie has celebrated that in the mobilization there are entities "of all kinds, whether or not they share the objective of independence, which are enough to say political repression", while Mauri has asked the State "to putseny and stop with repression. "

Roger Torrent

When we are transversal, when we are plural and we unite in the defense of rights and democracy, we are unstoppable "

The president of the Parliament, Roger Torrent -principal institution of Catalonia without president- has taken advantage of his presence in the demonstration to denounce the "regression that threatens the fundamental pillars of democracy that the Spanish State is making." "When we are transversal, when we are plural and we join in the defense of rights and democracy, we are unstoppable, "he added.
Desde Berlín, el expresidente de la Generalitat Carles Puigdemont ha lanzado dos mensajes en Twitter –en inglés y alemán– recordando que “Catalunya pide libertad”. “Somos ciudadanos de Europa que sólo queremos vivir en paz, libres y sin miedo”, agrega junto a cuatro imágenes de la “gran y democrática manifestación” de Barcelona.
For its part, JxCat spokesperson Elsa Artadi has emphasized the new demonstration of strength of sovereignty, discarding a presumed demobilization: "To all those who say that the movement is demobilized, that people are tired, we show them once again that is not the case and that the result of 21-D is felt today in the streets. " "Today we are here because there are 16 people who are in prison or in exile for defending political ideas that represent two million people," he added.

ERC has insisted on underlining "the transversality" of the demonstration on Sunday and has put on the table again "the democratic front against repression," in the words of the new spokesperson for the Republicans, Marta Vilalta . "It is a shame that there are people in prison for some invented crimes, as everyone knows," he added.
The Tres Xemeneies park has hosted the final stage of the concentration
The Tres Xemeneies park has hosted the final stage of the concentration (Lluis Gene / AFP)
An argument that has also brandished the head of the ranks of Catalonia in Comú-Podem, Xavier Domènech , to defend that the "transversal mobilization is the way to recover the rights and freedoms" that believes they are being lost by the performance of the State. In addition, Domènech has ensured that this "repression is global, because it affects Catalonia and Spain," and has exemplified the imprisonment of pro-independence politicians.
In the case of the CUP, the member of the national secretariat Lluc Salellashas gone further to ensure that the concentration today is the "definitive beginning of the Catalan spring to end the authoritarianism and the regime of 78 in Catalonia." All in all, Salellas has also asked the sovereign forces to "capture the unity that is seen today in the demonstration."


The unions argue that the march "has class condition" and stress that "the majority of Catalan society believes that preventive detention is not justified"

The General Secretary of UGT, Camil Ros , has justified his presence in the concentration because "the majority of Catalan society believes that preventive detention is not justified." "We ask that Dolors Bassa, the former general secretary of the UGT of Girona, be released and the rest of the people who are in jail. The majority of Catalan society also believes that it is not a time of 155 nor of one-sidedness. It is not a time for trials or detentions, "he said.
A message similar to that launched by the Secretary General of CC.OO. Catalunya, Javier Pacheco : "We are here today again to try to reclaim the construction of spaces of cohesion and coexistence in Catalonia to build a stronger democracy and work against the elements of repression and democratic involution of the decisions that are being taken politically and juridically". In addition, he wanted to emphasize the cross-sectional nature of the concentration, which motivated the union presence: "The controversy with the unions in today's demonstration has no identity, has class status."