Scores of people gathered on the steps of Catalonia’s High Court on Friday morning, blocking access to the courthouse in a protest against the imprisonment of several pro-independence leaders, who were jailed after the Catalonian government held a referendum on Catalan independence on Oct. 1, 2017.
Spain: Art Fair Removes Piece Titled 'Political Prisoners'
The protest, which was called for by Committees for the Defense of the Republic (CDR), saw many holding signs that read “it’s the time of the people,” and “let’s stop the coup d’etat.”
Security forces attempted to clear the protesters, but several had chained themselves to the gates to prevent the work of what they call “the highest organ of injustice in the Spanish state.”
After the Catalan independence referendum, democratically-elected government officials including Oriol Junqueras, former Vice President of the Government of Catalonia, Jordi Sanchez, president of the National Catalan Assembly, Joaquim Forn, former security counselor of Catalonia, and Òmnium Cultural member Jordi Cuixart, were imprisoned.
The President of the Generalitat of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont was removed from his post and is currently wanted by Spanish judicial authorities. He and other three ministers in his cabinet remain in Belgium.
Puigdemont was recently appointed the president of Catalonia’s parliament, but Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria has said the Spanish government would use "all the instruments of the law" to prevent Puigdemont from being reinstated as the leader of the region, including imprisoning him upon his return to Spain.
All of the jailed or self-exiled pro-independence activists are charged with treason for participating in the referendum process.
The “surprise action” was dispersed by an hour-long police operation to unblock the gates. According to one local media outlet, the police reported the arrest of 14 demonstrators although other sources report 12 arrests. Protesters responded to the police yelling “you don’t deserve the Senyera (Catalan flag) that you carry.”