“We have political prisoners again,” says Catalan president
Imprisoned leaders of pro-independence organizations call people to peacefully take to the streets to protest their arrest
The imprisonment of the leaders of the main two pro-independence organizations in Catalonia has sparked a widespread condemnation from politicians across the spectrum. “Spain jails Catalonia's civil society leaders for organising peaceful demonstrations,” tweeted Catalan president Carles Puigdemont. “Sadly, we have political prisoners again.”
Catalan Parliament president Carme Forcadell referred to the resolution as an “atrocity” and said that for the Spanish government “dialogue means prison without bail.” Barcelona mayor Ada Colau called it a “barbarity” and a “big mistake” that makes political dialogue even harder. The Socialist leader in Catalonia, Miquel Iceta, deemed the decision as “disproportionate”.
Catalan National Assembly president
Shortly after the resolution, the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) released a statement from its president, Jordi Sánchez. “What this act does is try to frighten us, to punish us, for defending freedom and for having taken to the streets as peacefully as we have been doing for such a long time," Sánchez stated.
"They cannot bring us to our knees if we stay strong"
Jordi Sánchez · Catalan National Assembly president
The ANC president called for people to demonstrate in condemnation of his imprisonment and said that “they cannot bring us to our knees if we stay strong.” Sánchez asked for any action in response to his arrest to be made with “unity, civic behavior and collective self-confidence.”
Òmnium Cultural president
Jordi Cuixart, the president of Òmnium Cultural, the other major pro-independence civil organization, had also recorded a video in which asked people to be “serene and aware of the importance of the historic moment that we are currently living.” He also asks campaigners to “continue working in an organized way” even though the civil leaders are imprisoned. “Don’t ever lose faith.”
“Today we have had another piece of evidence that the state repression has no limits,” said Cuixart in the two-minute video that gained thousands of shares within minutes. The president of Òmnium Cultural also recalled that his organization was banned under Franco’s dictatorship from 1963 to 1967 but continued working in hiding. Indeed, Cuixart said that if necessary, Òmnium will go on working again in secrecy.