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From outrage to celebration: parties react to arrests of pro-independence activists

Seven protesters detained, with one accused of terrorism and rebellion

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10 April 2018 12:28 PM

by

ACN | Barcelona

Catalan parties reaction to the police crackdown on pro-independence activists on Tuesday morning range from outrage to celebration. Two different police operations led to the arrests of at least seven people for their role in recent protests.

The Spanish Guardia Civil arrested a member of the Committees in Defense of the Republic (CDR), a network of local groups that have been protesting in the past few weeks by cutting off roads and opening up toll boths. The woman detained is accused of rebellion and terrorism. The police is also looking for a man after not finding him in his home on Tuesday morning. They are both investigated for "coordination and direction of activities during the sabotage events" during Easter.

In a different operation, the Catalan police arrested six people in relation to the protests that took place in front of Parliament on January 30, the day when the swearing-in ceremony for deposed president Carles Puigdemont was suspended.

Parliament speaker Roger Torrent decided to postpone the investiture debate after the Spanish Constitutional Court ruled that Puigdemont, who left for Belgium last October, could not retake office from abroad. The decision sparked outrage among protesters, who broke through a police cordon and encircled the parliament building.

  • “In Germany it is suggested that Spanish justice looks like the Turkish one and the National Court rushes to prove it”

    Josep Costa · Catalan parliament bureau member

Police detained people in the Catalan towns of Malgrat de Mar, Solsona, Òrrius and Arenys de Mar. Those arrested are now being investigated for crimes of public disorder and resisting the authorities.

“Unacceptable criminalization”

Political reactions to the arrest of CDR members did not take long coming. In a joint press conference, pro-independence parties accused Spain of "trivializing terrorism."

The main pro-independence party, Junts per Catalunya, tweeted that the citizens arrested are “peaceful” and that the police operation is “an unacceptable criminalization of legitimate protests and a new episode in the persecution of ideas.” One of its senior MPs, parliament bureau member Josep Costa, branded the events “out of control Francoism.” According to him, “in Germany it is suggested that Spanish justice looks like the Turkish one and the National Court rushes to prove it.”

The condemnation of the events also found echos in Spanish politics. Podemos party leader, Pablo Iglesias, said that while activists have been arrested, “hundreds of corrupt individuals enjoy impunity,” and he added that the “only thing missing is to accuse them of shooting Kennedy in Dallas.”

“Of course they use violence”

Yet some political voices in Catalonia welcomed the detentions. Inés Arrimadas, the leader of the main unionist party in the country, said that the CDR activists “of course use violence.” She described the operation as “normal” and claimed that the protests are “unacceptable in a democracy.” Meanwhile, the leader of the People’s Party in Catalonia, Xavier García Albiol, called the arrests “gratifying.”

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  • The activist arrested leaves her home escorted by Spanish Guardia Civil officers (by Norma Vidal)