By releasing the Catalans leaders, the Spanish government is hoping to rebuild bridges with those alienated by their imprisonment, even as it insists on the impossibility of having a indepedence referendum, writes Dick Nichols.
Catalan independence struggle
With negotiations over forming a Catalan government bogged down and a repeat election looming, pro-independence forces have reached an unexpected agreement, reports Dick Nichols.
The upcoming Catalan election will be a test of the resilience of the pro-independence base, impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Spanish state repression and attempts by Catalan counterparts of the governing coalition in Madrid to claw back support, writes Dick Nichols.
The Spanish state's relentless pursuit of Catalan independence activists suffered a big hit when the National High Court found the former Catalan police chief and his three fellow defendants not guilty on all charges, reports Dick Nichols.
The final act in a week of protest in Catalonia, against the vindictive jail terms imposed on nine Catalan leaders by the Spanish Supreme Court on October 14, was a general strike and vast demonstration in the capital, Barcelona.
Infuriated by the verdict, frustrated with the strategy of the established independence movement (seen as “getting nowhere”), and most of all, outraged by police violence, young Catalans, who had never been on a barricade in their lives, decided that “direct action” was the only solution, writes Dick Nichols.
The gap between the 75%–80% of Catalans who uphold their country’s right to self-determination, and the Spanish elites and parts of Spanish society that do not want to know anything about it, was already very wide before October 14.
But on that day, when the Spanish Supreme Court condemned nine Catalan political and social movement leaders to a total of 99.5 years jail, it most likely became unbridgeable, writes Dick Nichols from Barcelona.
Occupying the Plaça d’Espanya and surrounding streets on September 11, 600,000 people came out in Barcelona to celebrate Catalan National Day (the Diada).
The vast crowd demanded the acquittal of jailed Catalan social movement and political leaders, presently awaiting a Spanish Supreme Court verdict on charges of rebellion, sedition and embezzlement.