Barcelona as well other Catalan cities, such as Girona and Tarragona, are under high pressure from pro-independence demonstrators every evening since the former Catalan government ministers were given sentences over the unilateral declaration of independenceBRUSSELS (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 18th October, 2019) Barcelona as well other Catalan cities, such as Girona and Tarragona, are under high pressure from pro-independence demonstrators every evening since the former Catalan government ministers were given sentences over the unilateral declaration of independence.
A general strike kicked off in Catalonia on Tuesday in response to the Catalan leaders' sentencing. Roads have been blocked, car production halted, electricity usage has dropped as big demonstrations are again expected in Barcelona, for the fourth consecutive evening.
"We are walking to Barcelona from all over Catalonia for the freedom of our political prisoners in Madrid, for the independence, for justice and dignity for the future of Catalonia. We ask all democrats everywhere to react and support us, in our 'Freedom marches,'" Jordi Sole, former Catalan member of the European Parliament and ex-mayor of the Caldes de Montbui municipality, told Sputnik.
On Thursday night, the police had to prevent anti-fascist and far-right demonstrators from clashing in the Sarria neighborhood of Barcelona with the separatist demonstrators. The police set up a cordon to keep the groups of a few hundred people apart, but were still unable to stop several violent incidents. A dozen arrests took place.
Josep Maria Terricabras, a professor at the University of Girona and former Catalan member of the European Parliament, expressed hope that further demonstrations would be held in a peaceful manner.
"The demonstrations follow each other and this Friday, the 'Freedom marches' culminate with a large demonstration of the marchers in Barcelona tonight. I hope the demonstration will be peaceful, despite the frustration of the people of Catalonia at the way they are treated by Spain," Terricabras told Sputnik.
He also called on the Spanish government to stop the far-right demonstrations that pose a threat to the public order.
"I also hope the police will be able to stop the fascist demonstrators that clashed violently with the peaceful demonstrators on Thursday night. The Spanish government must understand that this is not the way forward for peaceful relations between Catalonia and Spain," Terricabras added.
SPANISH WARRANT AGAINST FORMER CATALAN PRESIDENT PUIGDEMONT
The Supreme Court in Madrid issued the third European arrest warrant against former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont on Monday, a matter of hours after the guilty verdict on the 2017 referendum leaders was out. Puigdemont has been living in Waterloo, on the outskirts of Brussels, since the plebiscite.
The exiled independence leader appeared in Belgium's public prosecutor's office in the morning and formally rejected his extradition to Spain. The Belgian court let Puigdemont walk free and also decided that the former Catalan president was authorized to leave the country if he wished to do so.
In his first extradition procedure in the fall of 2017, which was eventually withdrawn by Spain, Puigdemont was allowed to walk free but ordered not to leave Belgium. He was also required to set a permanent residence and to appear in court, if summoned.
The second extradition procedure was in Germany, on the border with Denmark, and Puigdemont was provisionally imprisoned for 12 days and then released for the three months until his case was considered. Spain then withdrew its European arrest warrant as well.