Live Blog: Catalonia's Independence Struggle Continues...

November 11, 2017, Barcelona: "Freedom for Political Prisoners"
November 11, 2017 demonstration demanding release of Catalan political prisoners. For further images see end of blog.
November 22, 2017

CATALONIA SOLIDARITY NEWS AND UPDATES
Please send all news of solidarity work with Catalonia to eurodesk@greenleft.org.au

Relationship counselling: The EU calls on the Catalan leadership not to break the bond (Finnish cartoonist Jari)


SEND A MESSAGE OF SUPPORT TO THE CATALAN POLITICAL PRISONERS (NAMES AND ADDRESSES BELOW)
Names and addresses of Catalan political prisoners

December 7, BELGIUM: 'LET'S FILL BRUSSELS' DEMONSTRATION IN SOLIDARITY WITH CATALONIA


STATEMENTS OF POSITION ON CATALONIA

  • November 8, LATIN AMERICA: Joint declaration of left organisations here.
  • November 7, INTERNATIONAL: Declaration of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency here.
  • November 1, UNITED STATES: Declaration of Socialist Core here.

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 22


37 nights with political prisoners


Ferreres, El Periódico, November 22

Rajoy: "Given the good result, 155 will always be here."
García Albiol (PP Catalonia leader): "If they've got it overhead, they'll comply without a peep."

[NOTE. Looking on is Enric Millo, the Spanish government representative in Catalonia, soft cop to García Albiol's hard cop.]


1700 HOURS

  • The CUP, through national secretariat spokesperson Núria Gibert (below), calls on JxCat and the ERC for greater commitment to unfolding the Catalan Republic declared on October 27: "Unilateral construction is the way left to us for building our political project."

1400 HOURS

  • Catalan president Carles Puigdemont spurns offer of salary as ex-president of Catalonia offered by Spanish finance minister Cristóbal Montoro.
  • Rajoy refuses to make details of the Spanish state operation in Catalonia available to congress, citing the need to defend state secrets and making use of a law first formulated under the Franco dictatorship.

1300 HOURS

  • PP leader García Albiol challenges Puigdemont to debate him in Brussels.
  • "In depth" interview with Mariano Rajoy in Italian daily La Repubblica: "I saved Spain--the European Union has isolated the supporters of independence. We must not divide the country."
  • PDECat will run a minority city council in Olot (Garrotxe) after breaking witht he PSC and failing to form new alliance with ERC.

One thousand US and European academics demand release of Catalonia’s “political prisoners”

They have signed a manifesto also demanding “fair elections” on December 21

ARA, November 21

Nearly one thousand academics from the US and Europe demand that Spain’s “political prisoners” be released. These professors and university researchers have signed a manifesto on democracy.cat where they also demand “fair elections” on December 21. The manifesto is entitled “Petition for the release of Spain’s political prisoners and for fair elections in Catalonia on December 21st”, a demand addressed to the Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres; Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council; and Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission.

The document begins by explaining that, following the referendum and Catalonia’s declaration of independence, the Spanish government dissolved the Catalan parliament, deposed the government of Catalonia, arrested eight cabinet ministers, including the vice president, and has been trying to have president Carles Puigdemont extradited, together with the remaining four ministers who are currently in Brussels “in an effort to ensure a fair hearing”.

The manifesto’s supporters believe that the comparison drawn by the Spanish prosecutor between the referendum on independence and an “armed coup d’état” reveals “Spain’s untenable position”. They also denounce a political persecution unheard of since Franco’s regime: “the Spanish government’s appeal to the rule of law cannot disguise a political persecution of an extent and intensity not seen since the Franco dictatorship”.

Furthermore, they insist that all of this has continued since the referendum, by extending judicial persecution to civil servants, mayors, teachers, journalists, and “any person who voices opinions on behalf of the citizens’ peaceful exercise of their democratic rights”.

The academics argue that Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy has called “a snap election” in Catalonia on December 21 while prominent members of his government and the Senate “have simultaneously declared their intention to ignore any victory of pro-independence parties. Even without the incarceration of prominent political leaders and would-be candidates, their mistreatment in custody and persistent far-right violence against journalists and citizens, the response of the Spanish government is hardly creating a climate in which fair and free elections can be properly held”, they claim.

The professors and researchers note that Catalans insist on a democratic solution to the conflict and are willing to decide this matter through the ballot box. However, the academics believe that “in order for those elections to be an honest arbiter, certain conditions must be met” and, therefore, they have drawn up a list of requests addressed to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council, and Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission. They ask them “to stop condoning Spain’s undemocratic behaviour, including its misuse of the courts, its takeover of Catalan government institutions, its police violence, and its turning of a blind eye toward the more than one hundred incidents of far-right violence that have appeared after every unionist march”.

Furthermore, they demand that they guarantee Catalans’ civil and political rights as European citizens, including the freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, and freedom of political expression, “which are currently being violated with impunity by the Spanish State”, and that they urge Spain to release the ten “political prisoners” currently in Spanish jails, whose summary judgement hearings and subsequent preventative custody in prison cells “is a travesty of European democracy, and whose participation in the election cannot be fairly executed from jail”.

The professors also demand that the UN and the European leaders guarantee that “no person or party will be prohibited from participating in the elections in Catalonia, and that Spain will not dictate which electoral programs are acceptable”. They also request that accredited international observers be provided “to ensure that the imposed December 21st elections in Catalonia are carried out fairly and honestly”.

The academics conclude that “the only peaceful solution to the conflict between Spain and Catalonia is a democratic one. It is time for the European and International communities to assert their influence in insisting that Catalan citizens be given the chance to express their opinion over the future of their country freely and democratically without fear of retribution in the courts, by police or by far-right extremists”.

1200 HOURS

  • Citizens suspends the membership of Alberto Moreno, councillor on the Altafulla town council, for voting in favour of an Altafulla council representative to the Association of Municipalities for Independence.

1100 HOURS

  • Guillem Fuster, spokesperson for CUP affiliate organisation Poble Lliure, appears before the Sabadell branch of the National High Court to give reason as to why he and two others should not be charged with "exaltation of terrorism" for having attended an event in memory of Julià Badia, activist with the armed organisation Movement for the Defence of the Land (MPT) who died in 1987. Fuster to the media: "There's an obsessive mania to link the pro-independence left with political violence."

1000 HOURS

  • Judge Carmen Lamela, the National High Court judge who put the eight Catalan ministers and two mass movement leaders Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart into preventive detention without bail, agrees to pass these cases onto judge Pablo Llarena of the Supreme Court. Her reasoning: "The behaviour of the suspects cannot be investigated in isolation, disconnected from the organisation of what they and possibly others undertook so as to bring about a shared outcome." Unlike Lamela, Llarena did not refuse bail to those he has been investigating, the pro-independence members of the Catalan parliament speakership panel who allowed parliamentary debate on independence to go ahead against a Constitutional Court ruling.

0900 HOURS

  • Four detained Catalan ministers ask for release on grounds that they have not expressly opposed article 155 intervention.
  • Spanish Supreme Court said to be considering laying charges against CUP MP Anna Gabriel for her role in the independence process.
  • Albert Botran, outgoing CUP MP, says that the nine-point draft common platform between JxCat and the ERC (below) "is only a starting point".

The nine points agreed by Together for Catalonia (JxCat) and the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) for a common platform for the December 21 election, to be submitted to the People's Unity List (CUP)

Source: NacióDigital, November 21

1
Demand the release of political prisoners, removal of police forces responsible for the repression of the October 1 referendum and an end to the police and judicial pressure that, in different ways and with varying degrees of intensity, limits the exercise of the democratic rights and public liberties of the citizens of Catalonia.
2
We demand the assumption of their relevant responsibilities by the political leaders and police officers responsible for the repressive operation to stop the holding of the October 1 referendum, which caused more than 1000 injured, and the withdrawal of all criminal and administrative processes related to its calling, as well as those related to the consultation of November 9, 2014.
3
Defend the institutions of Catalonia against the aggression represented by the suspension of our self-government as a result of the arbitrary application of article 155 of the Spanish Constitution, demanding its withdrawal and an end to the intervention into the finances of the Generalitat [Catalan government].
4
Demand a commitment from the Spanish government before the international community guaranteeing scrupulous respect for the results of the December 21 elections, whatever the result. If a majority of a pro-independence character is again confirmed, that it democratically recognise the result and not return to act illegally, abusing its position of strength against the initiatives that the Generalitat develops in accordance with the mandate of the ballot box. In this regard, it is necessary to demand the withdrawal of all appeals on the grounds of unconstitutionality presented by the Spanish government against norms and agreements emanating from the Parliament or Government of Catalonia.
5
That the European Union especially watch out that the rights of the citizens of Catalonia, inasmuch as European citizens, are not violated in any way by the administrative and/or legal initiatives of Spanish institutions.
6
Counteract the effects of the campaign against the Catalan economy orchestrated by the Spanish government, which has in a self-interested fashion created an artificial atmosphere of chaos, violence and instability so as to harm workers and enterprise competitiveness.
7
 Defend the Catalan education system  from any interference by the State and reaffirm the dignity and professionalism of its teachers against the attacks and slanderous campaigns they are suffering.
8
Promote a broad social compact, which in the name of democracy and with the goal of developing a constitution, further widens the broad majority of citizens supportive of Catalonia freely exercising the right to self-determination by making use of  the instruments of participatory decision-making and debate.
9
Realise bilateral negotiation with Spain and simultaneously with the European Union (as a subject in international law), starting from which and without any prior renunciation by the Parliament and the Government the access of Catalonia to full independence and the effective and peaceful democratic development of the Catalan Republic becomes possible.
 

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 21

36 nights with political prisoners


Fer, El Punt Avui, November 20

Spanish defence minister Dolores de Cospedal: "I've been rung by Russian spies, Chinese spies, spies from North Korea, Cuban spies...that Puigdemont is a moonlighter!

[NOTE: The reference is to the gullible PP minister being taken in by two Russian radio program pranksters who rang de Cospedal and pretended to be from the Latvian defence department, with "information" that Puigdemont was a Russian agent and that 50% of Russian tourists to Barcelona also engage in espionage.]

 


Catalan News, November 21


2200 HOURS

  • Barcelona judge investigating police operations on October 1 demands of the Spanish National Police that he be sent details of individual police.

1800 HOURS

  • Catalan government public servants demonstrate in St James Square against the implementation of article 155 and for the release of the detained ministers. The rally receives message sof support and appreciation from president Puigdemont. Most popular chant: "We Are Republic!"

  • Citizens' leader Ines Arrimades gets a rousing reception at the Equestrian Circle, Barcelona's snootiest club.

1700 HOURS

  • ERC MP in the Spanish parliament Joan Tardà delivers a letter to the president of the Palestine National Authority, Mahmud Abbas, after he publicly supported a "strong and united" Spain in the presence of Mariano Rajoy and King Felipe. The letter calls on the PNA to "acknowledge the legitimate right to self-determination of all oppressed peoples" and reiterates the support of the Catalan people for the struggles of the Palestinians.

  • The families of Catalan political prisoners create an association (the Catalan Association of Civil Rights) to fight for their release from prison.

1600 HOURS

  • Spanish government denies that it is considering special fiscal treatment for Catalonia (as reported below under 0900 HOURS in today's Guardian.)
  • Spanish National Cryptological Centre confirms that he has not detected any cyber attacks for Russian sources.

0900 HOURS

Jordi Ballart, former PSC mayor of industrial city Terrassa, who recently resigned as mayor and also from the PSC

In recent months the PSC has lost the "C" of Catalonia, but it long ago lost the "S" of socialist with the amendment of article 135 of the Constitution at the end of the Zapatero government [in 2010, making debt repayment an absolute priority over all other budget expenditure]. I have also been able to experience the process in my own skin, because of important decisions we took in Terrassa, where we wanted to be a reference point when it comes to applying genuine, courageous left-wing politics. The turning point was the decision to municipalise the water supply once the [private] concession finished. We decided to recover the service and from then on I was witness to all the economic and hidden interests around the party leadership and the connivances that made sure that this decision of ours was not understood. A campaign of discredit and defamation was even orchestrated against me personally for taking a left-wing decision and being consistent with the socialist values ​​that we defended within the institutions. It was from that moment that I started to disconnect and I see what sort of party I was in.

Interviewed in NacióDigital, November 21

  • The Guardian reports that "Madrid is prepared to discuss greater fiscal autonomy for Catalonia."
  • In a citizens' poll, residents of Cervera (Segarra) vote to change the name of the street named after the Duque de Ahumada, founder of the Civil Guard, to October 1 street.
  • Former French PM Manuel Valls to El Periódico: "There is no road to independence. It's a dead end."

0800 HOURS

[TWEET] Carles Puigdemont: "The hangman takes on the narrative of the innocent victim. The fascist heirs of the National Movement [the "party" of the Franco dictatorship] call the grandchildren of the executed Nazis. The voter is a delinquent. The basher is a hero. And with the help of the press of article 155 they create the reality that suits them. If we allow it, we disappear."

Today's front page decoded

  • "European door-closing on Barcelona"  [Barcelona loses its bid for the European Medicines Agency, having to be shifted from London because of Brexit. Implication: fault of the independence process]
  • "60% believe the [independence] process is damaging Catalonia" [largest heading]
  • "According to [pollster] GESOP, the majority see the response of the State as excessive" [small kicker] The majority is 77.6%, including 61% of those opposed to independence. But his is not the message El Periódico wants to highlight.


MONDAY, NOVEMBER 20

35 nights with political prisoners


Vergara, El Diario, November 20

Old Spanish saying: "When the stupid man points at the moon, the wise man watches the finger"
"Isn't that the hammer that destroyed Bárcenas's computers?"
[NOTE: Last week the Madrid branch of the National High Court brought charges against the ruling People's Party (PP) for deliberately destroying the computers of former PP treasurer Luis Bárcenas, accused of running a double set of books to cover up the racket whereby bsuinesses won public works contracts in exchange for paying a percentage of this income into PP coffers. Bárcenas has also been accused of using these funds to pay senior PP figures, including prime minister Mariano Rajoy, a second income in cash. Rajoy was the first-ever Spanish PM to have to give evidence in a corruption case, the long-running one against Bárcenas and other PP figures accused of running the scam. The "moon" in the cartoon is the Catalan independence flag, the estelada.]


2200 HOURS

  • Omnium Cultural converts act in remembrance of the prisoners of Francoism in the now-closed Model Prison into one in support of Catalonia's detained ministers and mass independence movement leaders.

1500 HOURS

  • At the opening of the Spanish Episcopal Conference, president Ricardo Blázquez condemns the October 27 Catalan declaration of independence and "gives support to the re-establishment of constitutional order because it is a common good."

1400 HOURS

  • ERC spokesperson Sergi Sabrià expresses the desire in the case of a pro-independence victory on December 21 that Puigdemont and Junqueras return as president and vice-president.

1100 HOURS

  • Former PSC premier José Montilla say that is "the hour of moderation" in Catalonia, and that Catalunya en Comú is complicit with pro-independence forces in opposing article 155 intervention in Catalonia.

1000 HOURS

  • Ultra-right paint-up in Barcelona:

Nazi insignia on the statue of Rafael Casanova, last chief minister of Catalonia during the 1714 defence of Barcelona

Memorial plaque defaced

0800 HOURS

  • Petition launched by US academics demanding the relase of Catalan political prisoners.

Briton Geoffrey Servante, who fought Franco, backs Catalan separatists
Geoffrey Servante, last British survivor of the International Brigades, to vote Puigdemont

[The Times, November 18] The last surviving British volunteer to serve with the International Brigades during the Spanish civil war will vote for Catalan independence in regional elections next month.

Geoffrey Servante, 98, who was an artilleryman during the conflict, said that he was so appalled by police violence during the illegal referendum in Catalonia on October 1 that he would be voting for Carles Puigdemont’s pro-independence coalition on December 21.

Mr Servante, who was born in London and lives in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, was granted honorary Spanish citizenship in 2009 and has voted by post in previous elections.

He said: “I went to the Spanish embassy and got sworn in. I was asked where I wanted to be registered. I chose Barcelona. So I’m Catalan."


SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 19

34 nights with political prisoners


Anthony Garner, Ara, November 19

[NOTE: Reference to the story of the two Russian pranksters who rang from a radio station to Spanish defence minister Dolores de Cospedal, pretending to be Latvians with inside information on the "Russian-Catalan connection". They told a believing Cospedal that Puigdemont was a Russian agent who went by the nickname of 'Cipollino' (the little onion). She promised them that she would immediately pass on this intelligence to Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy.]


2200 HOURS

  • Pro-independence forces maintain majority in latest GESOP poll for El Periódico. Participation is put at a stratospheric 87.3%: the previous record was 74.95% in the September 27, 2015 "plebiscitary" elections that were regarded as taking the place of the rnegotiated referendum rejected by the Spanish government.
    Note: "Escaños" are seats: there are 135 seats in the Catalan parliament. Sample, 800; Margin of error: +-3.5% for 95% confidence level

2100 HOURS

  • Yellow ribbons decorate a Barcelona footbridge in solidarity with the jailed Catalan ministers and mass movement leaders.

1900 HOURS

  • ERC registers a second ticket, Republican Dialogue, for December 21, in case it is banned from running.

1600 HOURS

  • PP Catalonia leader García Albiol attacks PSC leader Miquel Iceta for wanting detained Catalan ministers out of jail: "What I say to Iceta is that only the politicians who abide by the Constitution, respect the rule of law and recognise article 155 and the job the Spanish government has done can leave prison."
  • Catalunya en Comú-Podem (CatECP) leader Xavier Domènech tells election meeting in working-class Barcelona suburb Nou Barris: "We are the only ticket that guarantees that social policies will be the focus of government".

1500 HOURS

[TWEET] Carles Puigdemont: " In Catalonia Rajoy receives 8,5% of votes. But according to Juncker, Mariano Rajoy has a lot (?) of support in Europe for his policies in Catalonia. Does Juncker have any regard for European citizens votes and opinion?"

1000 HOURS

  • ERC general secretary Marta Rovira, interviewed by La Vanguardia, says that if pro-independence forces win, they may, depending on the circumstances of the detained and exiled ministers and Carles Puigdemont,  have to run a "political government" composed of these legitimately elected members of the government of 2015 and an "executive government" composed of pro-independence representatives elected on Decmber 21.

0800 HOURS

  • GAD3 poll for ABC has unionist parties gaining up to eight seats but still short of a majority (shown in a distorted graphic). Other way of reporting result: Pro-independence parties maintain absolute majority or at worst fall two seats short

[NOTE: Predicted participation: 82% (a record high, 2.5% more than in 2015; Sample size 801; error margin, not specified. Note also the distorted presentation of the result on the graphic below, depicting votes won instead of seats won (Catalonia has a rural gerrymander). In 2015 Junts pel Sí plus the CUP had 72 seats, a majority, which would be shown as passing to the right of the high point of the inner arc. In 2017, the same forces, in the form of Junts per Catalunya, ERC and CUP reach 66-69 seats, just below or just above a majority--68 seats, i.e.,. bracketing the high point of the outer arc. This is a typical example of the distortions of "state journalism": polls for Spanish state elections--where the gerrymander is much worse--are hardly ever presented in this way.] See El Periódico GESOP poll above for an accurate depiction of a nearly equivalent result.

  • El País interviews European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker: "Nationalism in poison".


SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 18

33 nights with political prisoners


Ferreres, El Periódico, October 15

Pedro Sánchez (PSOE leader): "Let's launch the 155, but promise me that we're going to reform the constitution in six months."
Rajoy: "Obviously. When have I ever failed to carry out an agreement?"

[NOTE: It only took one month for this joke to become true. On November 15, the PP spokesperson to the Spanish congress's parliamentary commission on Spain's territorial structure said: "We haven't come here to change the constitution."]


ARA EDITORIAL, November 18

After 58 days, the Tweety Pie ship leaves Barcelona

Since September of this year, Barcelona’s residents have grown used to living in difficult circumstances, with Spanish Police vans patrolling the streets and one or more helicopters hovering over the city. By stationing between 6,000 and 10,000 officers here, clearly someone is very keen on making the police presence felt. These are the same police officers who were responsible for committing acts of violence against defenceless members of the public on October 1. The images were broadcast round the world, though some, such as Spain’s Foreign Minister, deny any such acts of violence.

Yesterday, however, after 58 days, the symbol of this police presence, the cruise ship decorated with Tweety Pie and other Looney Tunes characters, left the port of Barcelona. Nevertheless, it set sail with no one aboard: the Guardia Civil and Spanish police it housed have remained in Catalonia, since the Spanish government plans to continue with what is known as Operation Copernicus until the end of the year. The operation was specifically designed to disrupt the referendum and the independence process through the use of force. Although Spain’s Interior Ministry has ruled that the cost of the operation will remain a state secret, experts such as the economist Modest Guinjoan estimate that some €192 million have been spent on travel expenses, accommodation and meals alone.

Nevertheless, the major damage wrought by Operation Copernicus, aside from the physical harm done to the one thousand individuals who were injured on 1 October, thanks to the use of material prohibited in Catalonia, such as rubber bullets, is the negative impact that the police violence has had on Barcelona’s image. This impact, unquantifiable in economic terms and the damage that has been done to the city’s reputation, is directly attributable to the Spanish government’s actions.

However, far from apologising for those who were injured or for the disproportionate measures taken by the police, Spain’s Interior Minister Juan Ignacio Zoido took it upon himself to congratulate and decorate those responsible for the outrage, while punishing the Catalan police, the Mossos d'Esquadra, who acted impeccably on both 1 October and 20 September. The last straw was the way in which the head of the Mossos, Josep Lluís Trapero, was removed from office and assigned to administrative duties.

Let’s not kid ourselves. Operation Copernicus was specifically designed to spread fear among the populace and demonstrate that Spain is prepared to use force at any time. Keeping individuals in custody without bail seeks the same objective. This is the State we live in.


2100 HOURS

  • Spanish chief prosecutor, José Manuel Maza, dies of kidney infection in Buenos Aires.

2000 HOURS

  • The ANC, Omnium Cultural and Committee for the Defence of the Repuplic (CDR) of central Catalan city of Vic (Osona) set up two prison cells in the central city square, with volunteers being asked to spend time inside until the Catalan political prisoners are released. At the time of luanching the organisers had 154 volunteers, enough to keep the cells occupied for five days.


Sign on right reads "a jailed people", while the silouettes above the cells are of the detained Catalan ministers and mass movement leaders

1900 HOURS

  • In response to PSOE refusal to have a Spanish congress commission investigate police violence on October 1, former Podemos Catalonia general secretary Albano Dante Fachin releases video clip: "A vote for the PSC is a vote for supporting police violence against Catalonia".

1800 HOURS

  • PSC general secretary Miquel Iceta calls for the release of the detained Catalan ministers.

1400 HOURS

  • CUP lead candidate Carlos Riera states, in supporting the comment of ERC general secretary Marta Rovira, that the organisation had information from reliable sources that one of the scenarios  planned by Spanish state agencies in response to a Catalan UDI was the deliberate creation of violence by the Spanish secret service in collaboration with right-wing groups.
  • Catalan police (Mossos d'Esquadra) protecting today's anti-facist march in Sarrià from an ultra counter-mobilisation.

1200 HOURS

  • Agriculture minister Meritxell Serret, running on the ERC ticket for December 21, says that Carles Puigdemont should continue as president in the event of a win by the pro-independence camp.

1000 HOURS

0800 HOURS

  • With their combined vote in the Spanish congress the PP, PSOE and Citizens vote down the proposal for a parliamentary commission into police violence in Catalonia on October 1.

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 17


32 nights with political prisoners


SPECIAL: See Catalan president Carles Puigdemont interviewed (in English) by former Scottish premier Alex Salmond on his new program on Russia Today, here.


La Punxa d'en Jap, El Punt Avui, November 11

"Do you recant and repudiate the Catalan Republic?" [formula of the Holy Inquisition]


Mural, Terrassa petrol station

2100 HOURS

  • PP Catalonia leader Xavier García Albiol calls for "short-term shcok measures" to fight "indoctrination" in the Catalan education system.

2000 HOURS

1900 HOURS

1800 HOURS

  • Spanish defence minister Dolores de Cospedal denounces the claims of ERC general secretary (that the Rajoy government was prepared to "spill blood" to stop Catalan independence) as "utterly false".
  • The Association ServidorsCAT launches its register of damage done to the Catalan economy, welfare system and services by the Rajoy government's article 155 intervention.

1700 HOURS

  • Belgian judge hearing the extradition case against Puigdemont and four Catalan ministers adjourns it until December 4.

1300 HOURS

  • Paint-ups calling for an "no more indoctrination" in Catalan education system appear outside schools in Vacarisses (Barcelonès). The mayor comments: "I propose a debate, in daytime and in front of everyone. Arguments against arguments."

  • Catalan government web site for December 21 elections set up (in English too).

1200 HOURS

  • El País revelas that Abdelbaki Es Satty, the imam of Ripoll who recruited the terrorist cell responsible for the August 16 attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils, was a confidante of the Spanish national intelligence service. This news later disappeared from the El País web site.
  • Workers from Catalan ministries of foreign affairs and administration block main Barcelona thoroughfare Via Laietana demanding release of ministers Raül Romeva (foreign affairs) and Meritxell Borras (administration)

1000 HOURS

  • Marta Rovira, general secretary of ERC, says that the Puigdemont government was made to understand that the Spanish state would use force to stop the independence process in Catalonia: "They told us that there would be bloodshed, that they wouldn't be rubber bullets like October 1, that the thing would be overwhelming."
  • Spanish National Police arrest two people for "inciting hatred and discrimination towards the forces of order deployed in Catalonia" for putting on the social networks comments like "you don't deserve to see fucking Civil Guards and Nationals" and "have to set fire to Civil Guard barracks".

0800 HOURS

  • Council of Europe denounces "degrading treatment" in Spanish jails.
  • PSC hangs onto the mayorlty of Terrassa because PDECat refuses to support left ticket Terrassa en Comú (Terrassa Together).
  • Detained Catalan treasurer Oriol Junqueras writes in the Sunday Times.
  • Protest of Catalan government public servants against article 155 intervention called for Tuesday, November 21 (poster below)

An abuser’s version of events

The State justifies its actions by claiming they have been left with no other choice but repression

Toni Soler, Ara, November 14

Without wishing to make light of the terrible suffering surrounding domestic violence, I would like to point out certain parallels between the attitude of the Spanish authorities towards Catalonia and the way abusers behave towards their victims. I will try to highlight the similarities between the two in reference to some stock phrases which the abuser typically employs to justify such behaviour.

“THINGS WERE GOING SO WELL BETWEEN US". The first line of defence of an abuser is to accuse the victim for the relationship having turned sour. First, they create the fiction of an idyllic past that has been spoilt on a whim. In our case, the Spanish media apparatus speaks of the Independence Process as a spontaneous occurrence, with no connection to earlier events. As if the conflicts of the twentieth-century (and those that came earlier) were an accumulation of falsehoods generated by twisted historians, as if the list of grievances that led to calls for a new Statute had vanished, as if the overturning of the Statute was a false detonator that led to the uprising of an infantilised population. Once such a narrative has been established, the victim becomes guilty of being frivolous and, naturally enough, of playing the victim.

“YOU MADE ME DOT IT". Just like the spouse who takes advantage of their dominant position, the State and its media wing justify their actions by claiming they have been left with no other choice but repression. As Rajoy said, "Don’t make me do what I don’t want to". The unprecedented acts of police brutality which took place on 1 October were egged on by the passionate chants of "Let ‘em have it" and, finally, proud acceptance of such actions, based on the premise that "the state has a right to defend itself", though on the day in question, "defence" consisted of beating helpless members of the public. The absurd extremes of such self-justification can be found in the proposal from Ciudadanos to award medals to the police officers responsible for this outrage. The thousand individuals who were injured have yet to receive a single word of consolation or respect. The message is clear: they were asking for it.

"YOU’RE MAKING A FOOL OF YOURSELF". The abuser seeks to impose their will, not only by coercing the victim, but also by undermining their self-esteem. Spain has tried to ridicule Catalan identity in all its forms, starting with the language, and continuing with the independence movement’s lack of success in transforming its democratic majority into a tangible political reality. Stereotypes abound: the Catalans don’t know how to conduct politics, they go weak at the knees, they are only interested in money (anti-semitism "Made in Spain"), and so on. Every time we come up against the strength of the State we are faced with mockery, rather than empathy. Even the absence of violence is seen as a lack of courage.

"YOU’RE UPSETTING THE CHILDREN", is what an abusive husband will tell his victim in a form of emotional blackmail. Secessionists had always accepted their minority status and now it seems as if its growth is the cause of a "rupture", an "emotional tear" that has caused businesses to flee and a drop off in tourism. But who is doing the tearing? It is the PP government that has drained the Catalans of their taxes, dissolved Parliament, imprisoned the Catalan government, challenged its laws, filled the streets with police blinded by hatred, encouraged businesses to flee and tolerated the violence by the far right.

But the abuser’s version of events —driven by what Francesc Serés calls state journalism— remains immutable.

The abusive spouse has the ability to make others believe that the feelings of victimization is just an act, resulting in the victim ending up blaming themselves, telling themselves they must have been exaggerating, that maybe the violence of which they are on the receiving end is a result of their own unstable character. And if they can only admit it, maybe the husband won’t beat them that day. Whatever they do, however, the abuser won’t thank them for the gesture. They’ll even make fun of such weakness. And this is the stage we are at now, with politicians who are either "too scared to show their face", such as Puigdemont, or those who "sing like a canary", like Forcadell before the judge, who threatened her with prison without bail for having allowed Parliament to go about its parliamentary business.

And the false victims are sent to jail, handcuffed in a van, with the Spanish national anthem playing on repeat. You see what you make us do?


THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 16


31 nights with political prisoners



Ferreres, El Periódico, November 16

Angela Merkel: "How did it go in Spain, Jean-Claude?"
Jean-Claude Juncker: "Best country in the world--they really know how to live there."

[NOTE: European Commission president Juncker has received two Spanish honours in the past month. At the ceremony for the last, an honorary doctorate of the University of Salamanca, the former prime minister of tax-haven Luxembourg delivered a speech against "nationalism", aimed against the Catalan movement.]


1200 HOURS

1100 HOURS

  • Pirates Catalonia to go on CUP list for the December 21 election.
  • Omnium Cultural president Jordi Cuixart, in a letter from prison to members of the Catalan language and culture association, urges them "not to fall for provocations--I know what I'm talking about."

1000 HOURS

  • Agriculture minister Meritxell Serret, exiled in Brussels and the lead candidate for the ERC in the Lleida province, says "we will never give up on building the Catalan Republic".

0900 HOURS

  • Constituent Process fails to reach an agreement for joining the CUP ticket for the December 21 elections, but says it looks forward to continuing collaboration afterwards.
  • ERC national coordinator Marta Rovira says that the December 21 election is "the referendum that the State didn't dare to negotiate".

 


WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 15


30 nights with political prisoners

Fer, Punt Avui, November 12

Preacher: "Blessed are the political prisoners, the persecuted, for theirs is the kingdom..."
Rajoy: "Shit! Quick! Get me prosecutor Maza and judge Lamela!" [responsible for the preventive detention of the eight Catalan ministers and the exile in Belgium of the rest, turning them into an electoral asset for the Catalan independence movement]


FEATURE: TWO DEMONSTRATIONS COMPARED

Barcelona: November 11 pro-independence demo compared to October 29 unionist demo

Map of Barcelona: The blue line marks the space occupied by the October 29 unionist demonstration, estimated by the Barcelona municipal police at 300,000, by the Spanish government delegation in Barcelona at 1 million and by the organisers, Catalan Civil Society (SCC), at 1.1 million.
The fuschia-coloured line markes the 3.3 kilometre-long space ocupied by the November 11 demonstration in support of the eight detained Catalan ministers and against the application of article 155 in Catalonia. The municipal police estimate was 750,000, while the organisers, the ANC and Omnium Cultural, expressed no different estimate.

The November 11 demonstration was over three times longer than October 29 event, but in a street that is at points narrower than the Passeig de Gracia where the SCC demonstration took place. This explains why the municipal police estimate for November 11 is 2.5 times as large as for October 29.

Going by the relative municipal police figures, if the SCC figure (1.1 million) for their October 29 demonstration is correct, then the attendance on November 11 would have been over two million--a figure no-one believes in.

The answer to the conundrum is that the Spanish delegation and SCC figures for the October 29 demonstration were pure fiction.

In a November 12 article on the Catalan web site Vilaweb Antoni Morell calculated attendance at the November 11 demonstration at between 1.014 million and 1.521 million, depending on the actual density of the crowd (with the lower figure corresponding to 4 people per square metre and the upper figure to 6 people per square metre). If the implied average density of the municipal police estimate (5.05 per square metre) were applied to the entire area occupied by demonstrators, the result would be 1.28 million.

Morell's conclusion: a million at the very least, and probably more.


2400 HOURS

  • Carles Puigdemont, intervioewed on TV Punt Avui: "I have to have a ticket that is more my own than that of the party. [PDECat]

2300 HOURS

  • Sacked head of the Catalan police, Josep Lluís Trapero, has been given an office job without operational responsibility by the Spanish interior ministry.

2100 HOURS

  • The National Council of PDECat gives Carles Puigdemont the power to decide the final composition of the list Together for Catalonia (JxCat),  which will have many non-aligned candidates and operate out of its own headquarters (and not the PDECat's).

2000 HOURS

  • Former leader of Podemos Catalonia announces that his new grouping We Are Alternative will not be standing of Decemebr 21.

1800 HOURS

  • Catalan parliament speaker Carme Forcadell to stand on ERC list for Decmber 21.

1700 HOURS

  • Former Brazilian president Dilma Roussef defends Catalonia's right to self-determination and criticises imprisonment of the ministers in Strasbourg media conference. Also points out that the UN recognised the unilateral declaration of independence of Kosovo.
  • The United List campaign achieves the 55,000 signatures needed (1% of the electoral roll) to run a candidacy on December 21. The list will be offered to the PDECat, ERC and CUP as a vehicle for runing a single ticket.

1600 HOURS

  • The territorial commission of the Spanish congress, agreed by the PP in order to get PSOE support for the application of article 155 in Catalonia, starts work with the participation of Spanish-centralist parties only. Missing are Unidos Podemos, En Comú Podem, ERC, PDECat, the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV) and EH Bildu (that is, the forces (with the exception of the ERC) who signed the Zaragoza Declaration supporting the right to decide as the indipsensable precondition for any solution of the territorial crisis of the Spanish state.
  • ANC calls demonstration in support og Catalan political prisoners for tomorrow evening.

1500 HOURS

  • Defaced posters on ERC MP's office door in Spanish parliament:

Posters on office door of ERC MP in Spanish parliament defaced

1400 HOURS

Man who was blinded in one eye on 1-O files criminal charges against three Spanish Police officers

The charges have been brought against the policeman who fired the shot and two of his superior officers
Ara, November 14

 

The man who lost his sight to a rubber bullet fired by Spanish Police has filed a criminal complaint against three officers. The incident in question took place outside the Ramon Llull School, in Barcelona city, leading to charges being filed against the police officer from the Spanish Police —yet to be identified— who fired the rubber bullet that blinded the man in one eye, together with his two superior officers. The three police officers are to be charged with major bodily harm and for having caused the loss of an eye. Charges may well be brought against other individuals in the future.

The charges are being pressed by Roger Español, the man who was blinded in his right eye during the 1 October independence referendum. He has obtained access to video footage of the events recorded by several individuals. The images show the Spanish Police charging the public outside the Ramon Llull School and the moment when the police officer fired the rubber bullet that hit Español in the eye. The Irídia centre is bringing charges on behalf of Roger Español as a civil plaintiff, in which he will be represented by lawyer Anaïs Franquesa. Meanwhile a private prosecution will be brought by lawyer Laia Serra (who was legal counsel to Ester Quintana, the woman who lost the sight in one eye to a rubber bullet in the protests during the November 2012 general strike).

According to Franquesa, "The police officer fired the rubber bullet at point blank range, at less than 15 meters from the members of the public. He was fully aware that he was exposing them to danger", adding that the two commanding officers have also been charged since "they ordered the use of rubber bullets or at the very least did nothing to prevent them from being used". Serra added that "Roger was surrounded by reporters wearing press bracelets and holding cameras. Anyone could’ve been hit". The events took place at 10:30 a.m. on 1 October in carrer Sardenya in Barcelona, between Diputació and Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes when Spanish Police charged members of the public outside Ramon Llull School.

The criminal charges were filed with Criminal Court No. 7 in Barcelona, which has opened an investigation to decide whether the actions of the Spanish National Police in 26 polling stations around Barcelona on 1 October was "reasonable". Last week, the Irídia centre filed five more criminal complaints with the same court on behalf of seven individuals who also reported incidents of police violence during the 1-O vote.

 

1300 HOURS

  • Workers from the Catalan ministry of culture demonstrating in Barcelona's Rambla their support for the jailed ministers.

1200 HOURS

Puigdemont claims that a solution other than independence "is always a possibility"

Ara, November 14

In an interview with 'Le Soir', President Carles Puigdemont declared himself "willing" to "accept the reality of a relationship with Spain" other than independence. “It’s always a possibility! I’ve always supported independence, I’ve worked for thirty years towards building a different relationship between Catalonia and Spain!". Puigdemont went on to say that "A lot of work has been done on the issue, but when José María Aznar arrived in office he called a halt to all that".

Details of the last secret meeting with Rajoy

In the interview, Puigdemont also gave 'Le Soir' details of his last meeting with PM Rajoy, which took place in secret. "In January, I saw President Rajoy and I told him we were willing to discuss everything", adding, "I received a negative answer to every proposal". Puigdemont went on to ask: "Does the PP, which represents less than 10% of the voters in Catalonia, have more right than we do to decide the Catalans’ future? My answer is ‘no’".

During the interview, Puigdemont lists the points on which he offered to negotiate with Rajoy: "the date of the referendum, the question, an alternate question with a choice between independence and self-rule with full autonomy, the majority necessary to make such a decision... I was even willing to accept that, for an entire generation, we would hold a referendum every three years. I received a negative to every single proposal", Puigdemont stated.

Puigdemont also commented on the process that his government followed. "It‘s clear that the plenaries held on the 6 and 7 September weren’t the best in the history of the Catalan Parliament, but it was a last resort," he said.

1100 HOURS

[TWEET] Civil Guard, Barcelona barracks: "Good morning from the centre of Barcelona, in the Gràcia neighbourhood: as on every day, the Civil Guard raises the national flag. How fine it is!"

  • Spanish deputy prime minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria accuses Catalunya en Comú leaders Xavier Domènech and Ada Colau of "wanting to lead the pro-independence bloc" after the December 21 Catalan elections.

1000 HOURS

  • Josep Duran i Lleida, former leader of the christian democrat Democratic Union of Catalonia (UDC), says he will be voting PSC on December 21.

0900 HOURS

  • Annual Girona robotics fair Robolot rejects €5000 donation from the Spanish royal family.

0800 HOURS

  • Catalan policemen who accompanied president Carles Puigdemont to Brussels to faces charges by Spanish interior ministry.

Today's headlines (NOTE: all about Catalonia)

Catalan-language daily press


"Now they're not in a hurry"

"United front for December 21"

"PP and Citizens will reinforce inspection of the Catalan education system"

Spanish-language  daily press

"Everything for the 'process', nothing for the most unfavoured"

"Two Mossos [Catalan police] on holidays escort Puigdemont to Brussels"

"The Constitutional Court opens the 'Forcadell route' for Junqueras so he can carry out [election] campaign"

"PSOE and PSC reject any sort of deal with secessonists"

"A thousand companies also shift out their financial HQs"


TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 14


29 nights with political prisoners



Ferreres, El Periódico, November 14

Road to December 21 Catalan election, with Spanish deputy prime minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria as traffic cop: "Vote in moderation"


2100 HOURS

2000 HOURS

  • Terrassa en Comú and the ERC reach an agreement to replace the PSC as the ruling party in Terrassa (Vallès Occidental), with the CUP providing external support. The agreement will depend on the support of PDECat. If this forthcoming the PSC will cease to be the ruling force in this important industrial centre for the first time in in 38 years.

1900 HOURS

  • In the Spanish congress the PP opposes and Citizens abstains on a PDECat motion declaring all decisions of Francoist courts null and void. When a similar motion was put to the Catalan parliament it received unanimous support.
  • The Barcelona Council budget passes its first reading in committee due to the abstention of ERC, PDECat, PSC and Democrats, with Citizens and PP against.

1700 HOURS

  • Mariano Rajoy to radio COPE: "I'm in favour of talking about the issue of education in Castilian." The main Catalan education union USTEC-STEs says it will not accept any change in the Catalan education policy, where Catalan is the language of instruction and Castilian (Spanish) a compulsory subject.

1600 HOURS

[TWEET] Julian Assange; " The Rajoy government has declared the costs and details of its violent attacks on Catalan voters a “state secret”. Game on. I issue a €20k reward (divisible) for majority of the suppressed information. https://t.co/JQo9f0GfRDhttps://t.co/UkVKSU2Ro3 "

1500 HOURS

  • Public servants in the economy ministry send a letter to jailed Catalan treasurer Oriol Junqueras saying they recognise only him as their legitimate minister.
  • Citizens expresses its agreement with the PP's three points.
  • Citizens denounces Catalan public TV as "Telepuigdemont" to the Spanish eelctoral commission (running the December 21 Catalan elections).
  • The PSC Barcelona, advises its former governing partner Barcelona en Comú that it will not support its budget.
  • Two of the four parties in the governing coalition on Sabadell council, Unity for Change and Let's Win Sabadell, call for the mayor to re-raise the Spanish and European flags over the town hall.

1400 HOURS

  • PSC leader Miguel Iceta says he won't support the PP's three points, but won't vote for a pro-independence party to form government nor for Catalunya en Comú to do so if it continues to support a referendum.
  • Pablo Llarena, the judge of the Supreme Court who is dealing with the cases of the speakership panel of the Catalan parliament, asks for a report from National High Court judge Carmen Lamela on her grounds for jailing the eight Catalan ministers. According to various media commentators, this is the first step in trying to defuse an issue that is politically  embarrassing for the Rajoy government in the run-up to the Catalan election (NOTE: Llarena imposed less stringent bail conditions on the speakership panel members, even though he deliberately set bail for Catalan parliament speaker Carme Forcadell at €150,000 such that she had no time to raise it and had to spend a night in jail).
  • 100 university law lecturers and professors sign manifesto criticising the decision to judge Carmen Lamela place eight Catalan ministers in preventive detention without bail. Their statement reads: "Only by seriously infringing the principal of legality can it be maintained that the accused committed an act of rebellion .. [because] the structural feature of this violation of the law, an act of violence, is missing."
  • Man who lost eye to Spanish National Police rubber bullet fire on October 1 to launch case for damages and also campaign for banning of rubber bullets in whole Spanish state (rubber bullet use is already banned in Catalonia).

1300 HOURS

  • PP's three points for Citizens and the PSC to consider: no referendum, no deals with pro-independence parties, the unionist parties to try to form government if they win enough votes.

1200 HOURS

[TWEET] Súmate (Castilian speaking supporters of Catalan independence): "Please write letters to this poor man to help him out of his depression before he gets evicted." [NOTE: The Infanta Pilar said yesterday that King Felipe VI was "very depressed" about Catalonia.]

1100 HOURS

[TWEET] Dolors Sabater (mayoress, Badalona): “ I'm speaking out to demand explanations from the 155 bloc for having brought us to where we are, first unilaterally denying the right to a negotiated referendum, next prosecuting it with violence and refusing dialogue, and finally intervening and jailing freedom of expression  and the institutions."

  • Interviewed on COPE radio prime minister Rajoy says of Puigdemont government: "Not only were they not prepared, they knew it [independence] was impossible."

1000 HOURS

  • Imprisoned Omnium Cultural president Jordi Cuixart not to stand on any ticket for December 21 elections.

0900 HOURS

  • [Saturday, 1700 HOURS] Captain of Vueling flight expels two women, residents of Menorca, from plane when they refuse to answer cabin crew in Castilian (Spanish). Vueling says it is investigating incident.

[TWEET] Carles Puigdemont: "After 155 an authoritarian wave grows by the day. Expelling someone from a plane because of the language they speak is injustifiable."

0800 HOURS

  • Spanish foreign minister Alfonso Dastis denounces Russian media and social network "manipulation and distortion" of events in Catalonia.
  • Former Catalan business minister Santi Vila tells Madrid's 21st Century Club that the situation in Catalnonia is "terrible" and that the past legislature "was distorted by the positions of the extreme left" [i.e., the CUP].

[TWEET] Gabriel Rufián (ERC MP in Spanish parliament): "Our struggle this December 21 is for the restoration of the institutions, government and legitimate president of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont".

  • Last night's meeting of Girona council votes to demand immediate release of Catalan political prisoners: in favour PDECat, ERC, CUP and PSC; against Citizens and PP.

Last night's Girona demonstration demanding release of political prisoners


MONDAY, NOVEMBER 13

28 nights with political prisoners


Anthony Garner, Ara, November 12

PSC leader Miquel Iceta tip-toes past the million strong November 11 demonstration against article 155 intervention in Catalonia, supported by PSC


2200 HOURS

  • Spanish treasurer Cristóbal Montoro says his department will investigate the funding of last week's trip of pro-independence mayors to Brussels to meet Puigdemont and the Catalan ministers in exile.
  • PP leader Albiol García says he has "three points" he will put to Citizens and the PSC as a common platform for "constitutionalism".
  • "They'll betray us again!": call by Citizens leader Albert Rivera for voters in Barcelona's southern  industrial belt (traditionally PSC) not to vote for the PSC again, because it could produce another edition of the 2003-2010  "tripartite" government of PSC, ERC and "the commons"  (then Initiative for Catalonia-Greens, today Catalunya en Comú).

2000 HOURS

  • Puigdemont attends launch of book When Catalonia Worried Europe in the Brussels Catalan Cultural Centre.

1900 HOURS

  • Àngel Ros, PSC president and mayor of Lleida complains to the newspaper Segre about the cartoon below, saying it expresses a desire to "despire and erase the work of an historic party of Catalan politics".

The PSC will run in the December 21 elections with the heirs of Democratic Union [of Catalonia]

  • Junts Per Catalunya ("Together For Catalonia") is the name of the tickets to be headed by Carles Puigdemont (that is, not PDECat). The idea is to have as broad a ticket as possible, with independent pro-independence mayors and jailed ministers featuring.

1800 HOURS

  • Promoters of the united pro-independence list for Decmeber 21 have collected 35,000 of the 55,000 names needed to register it in time for the December 21 election. This amounts to1% of the electoral roll of 5.5 million.

1700 HOURS

  • Spanish foreign minister Alfonso Dastis days that continuation of article 155 intervention will depend on whether Catalan government resulting from Decenber 21 agrees to abide by the Spanish constitution and the Catalan statute of autonomy.

1600 HOURS

  • Carles Riera, CUP MP and former head of the Escarré International Centre for Ethnic Minorities and Nations (CIEMEN), to head CUP ticket for December 21. This is possible because Riera has been a CUP MP for less than a year. The rest of the ticket will be new, in accordance with the CUP rule of having its MPs serve only one parliamentary term.

Carles Riera

1500 HOURS

  • PSOE premier of the Valencian Country, Ximo Puig, attacks Ada Colau for "party secratrianism" is breaking alliance with PSC.

1400 HOURS

  • ERC spokesperson Sergi Sabrià says that the Puigdemont government was "not ready for independence".
  • PSC Barcelona leader Collboni says PSC will now make "resolute" opposition against Ada Colau mayolralty, accusing Barcelona en Comú of having made an "historical error" for breaking with the PSC.

1200 HOURS

1100 HOURS

  • President Puigdemont tells the Belgian daily Le Soir that another solution for Catalonia besides independence exists.

0900 HOURS

  • Barcelona mayoress Ada Colau denies that the break of Barcelona en Comú with the PSC means accommodation with pro-indendence forces. "If the PSC had consulted its membership about article 155, it would have been rejected."

0800 HOURS

  • Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro, interviewed on the Salvados program of Jordi Évole, describes the November 11 Barcelona demonstration as "impressive" and says that the Catalan independence movement has to be listened to.

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 12

27 nights with political prisoners


A knot
A comment on the November 11 demonstation

ESTHER VERA (editor, Ara)

 

Once again, and filled with hope despite the disorientation caused by the political situation in recent weeks and impotence over the imprisonment of the principal pro-independence leaders, thousands of people have again taken to the streets, civically and en masse. This time it was to demand freedom for Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart, the presidents of the ANC and Òmnium, Oriol Junqueras, the Vice-president of the government, and Ministers Borràs, Bassa, Mundó, Forn, Turull, Romeva, and Rull.

Once again civically and peacefully, but this time with a knot in the stomach. With dignity, but also sadness, listening to the silence of the children of some of the honorable politicians who are imprisoned for their ideas and for a disconcerting political strategy, but driven by the lack of political reasoning by an impassive and blind Spain. The atmosphere on Saturday was not festive, it was a collective act of warmth towards the families and the attendees themselves, still disoriented from the repression, the annulment of home rule, the imprisonment of peaceful, democratically-elected people for reasons of conscience.

The demonstration was also a call to unity. But the logic of political parties differs from everyone else’s and it is unclear whether they will be able to overcome their partisan agenda and achieve a unitary list, or even that this would be the best formula for managing the difficulties from December 22nd. The citizens’ slate that President Puigdemont is asking for would erase party acronyms and would be a joint challenge to Madrid, but it would be an instrumental list that would be ineligible for any election funding and advertising spaces, which the parties value. It would be the most advantageous for a disoriented PDECat, which needs to rebuild itself, but with the elections called by Rajoy, Puigdemont lost the presidential ability to dissolve the parliament, and thus leverage over his partners. As a single ticket or several, those in favor of sovereignty will have to rebuild proposals, objectives, and itineraries. For the good of the country, they will have to generate a collective catharsis that explains to their voters where they have made mistakes and what the new timelines and realistic objectives are. But they probably won't do so before the elections, only afterwards, and it will be then, once they have measured their strength, that they can set objectives, strategies, and calendars.

In the past month the constitutionalist bloc has gained strength and the application of Article 155 with the cooperation of the PSC has given wings to Miquel Iceta. His aim is to act as an intermediary with the theoretically harsh sector (PP and Cs) and seek out moderates even in turbulent waters, such as those from the now-defunct Unió Democràtica. The strategy is risky, but developed using his direct relationship with the Moncloa and in anticipation of the results of December 21st and the scenarios that voters could create.

The heretics

There are people who always have a bonfire at hand. A bonfire for witches, for heretics, for communists, masons, independence supporters, or even for supporters of Spanish unity. The bonfire can take on the form of a newspaper editorial that puts the world to rights, but also a holier-than-thou message on Twitter. The thing is that from the absolute truth provided by proximity to power, a comfortable sofa, a healthy bank balance, or a more-or-less distant university lecture hall, it is easy to dictate a doctrine of purity for others to obey. The release from prison of Carme Forcadell, the Speaker of the House, provided an opportunity to light the bonfires. Some Madrid newspapers talked of "renouncing support for independence", or "rectification", or "non-credible repentance". It is well known that recanting requires retraction and anathematization, in addition to professing the Catholic faith. In addition, establishing if the spirit is sincere and intentions correct is essential. The lovers of rectifications and recantations follow the star of the Holy Inquisition or of the great Beria, who was in charge of the huge Stalinist purge. A man who generated so much fear that in the 1990s Muscovites still avoided passing by what had once been his house. A few days ago, a balanced person made me think about the disgrace, the lost opportunity, of the Counter-Reformation. Spain is still a country that is reactive to change, suspicious of difference, and some political and judicial players appear to seek out their opponent's recantation rather than compliance with the law or political debate. Spanish Attorney General José Manuel Maza clearly suggested, referring to the imprisonment of the Vice-president and Ministers, that if they had complied with the Constitution and Article 155 "perhaps some things might have been different".

The Attorney General's words urging the recantation of ideas, and the enthusiastic reaction of those who see a betrayal by Forcadell in a simple defense strategy do nothing more than confirm the political nature of the crimes and the legal measures being applied. Prohibiting Carme Forcadell from attending yesterday's demonstration is a useless act from a political point of view because she and the other prisoners were very present to millions of people who were demanding their freedom as an urgent necessity, and who continue to hold true to their ideas, as they have shown en masse. After them, after all of us, others will come. What is needed is to do it better, with less herding instinct and more listening to what we don't want to hear.

2200 HOURS

  • Neighbours in Gimenells, whose mayor deserted the PSC for second place on the PP ticket for Lleida province, paste up the town hall. Slogans include: "Gimenells has not voted PP", "Gimenells is not Dante [Pérez]".

1900 HOURS

  • Ana Gabriel (CUP MP): "From December 22, the commitment is to give content to the realisation of the Republic, the beginning of the constituent process, stopping article 155 and the release of the prisoners for jail."

1800 HOURS

  • Constituent Process, led by former Benedectine nun Teresa Forcades and former Podemos Catalonia leader Albano Dante Fachin, to stand together for December 21, possibly with the CUP-Constituent Call.

1700 HOURS

[TWEET] Lluís Rabell (leader, Catalonia Yes We Can): "May the commanders of the 'new politics' forgive me, but a consultation on a governing alliance where the government 'doesn't have an opinion' but never stops sending out messages against its allies--that's a demogigical piece of trickery pushed by people who are afraid to take responsibility for their decisions."

CUP assembly votes 64% in favour of presenting a list at the December 21 elections.

CUP assembly, Granollers

Ballot paper for CUP Assembly decision

The vote was:
Total voting: 1099. First round: To stand or not (91.6% in favour, 7.8% against). Second round vote, on three options emerging from regional assemblies: (a) Citizen list without parties (12.6%); (b) Negotiate a left front (21.7%); Stand as CUP plus supporting parties in Constituent Call, as in 2015 elections: (64%).

Brussels demonstration in support of the release of the Catalan political prisoners. Attended by ministers in exile Meritxell Serret, Toni Comín and Clara Ponsatí.

1600 HOURS

  • Elements of the "commons" and Podemos express criticism of the decision of Barcelona en Comú to break with the PSC.

1500 HOURS

  • PSC secretary Miquel Iceta says that Ada Colau as "chosen independence" before Barcelona.

1400 HOURS

[TWEET] Ada Colau: "Thanks Jaume Collboni [PSC leader in Barcelona Council] for the joint work in the service of Barcelona. May the PSC soon abandon deals with PP/Citizens/Unió and recover left alliances."

1300 HOURS

  • Unionist march in Manresa starts to shouts of "Puigdemont to jail".
  • PP leader Albiol García demands anti-independence united from from Citizens and PSC.

1200 HOURS

  • Result of Barcelona en Comú membership ballot on whether to continue with governing alliance with PSC on Barcelona Council: 46% for, 54% against.

1000 HOURS

  • Former business minister Santi Vila says he will take a "step to the side" if his party, PDECat, persists in a unilateral approach to independence: "The question we have to ask ourselves is whether the intransigence, inability and even catalanophobic tics of some people justify political responses that put at risk all the material and spiritual progress we've achieved over the last 40 years.

IMAGES OF THE NOVEMBER 11 ONE-MILLION STRONG BARCELONA DEMONSTRATION IN SUPPORT OF THE POLITICAL PRISONERS AND AGAINST ARTICLE 155

Committee for the Defence of the Republic, Poble Nou, November 1 Barcelona march