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  • Catalonia's pro-independence rally in Barcelona, Spain, Sep. 23, 2019. Banner reads, 'No more repression'.

    Catalonia's pro-independence rally in Barcelona, Spain, Sep. 23, 2019. Banner reads, 'No more repression'. | Photo: Reuters

Published 26 September 2019
Opinion

Repression could escalate on the eve of the anniversary of the pro-independence referendum which was held on Oct. 1, 2017.

Spain's Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska confirmed Wednesday that riot police are being deployed in Catalonia to support local police on the eve of the second anniversary of the referendum through which the Catalans ratified their desire for independence on Oct. 1, 2017.

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According to local media Libertad Digital, some 750 special agents of the Spanish riot police will be sent from Seville, Bilva and Granada to different places of the Catalan territory.

The number of riot police officials, however, could increase during the first week of October when various events related to the independence of Catalonia will be held.

On Sep. 23, Spanish security forces arrested nine pro-independence activists who were charged with rebellion and sedition. Although two of them have been already released, seven Catalans remain jailed for alleged acts of terrorism and "offenses against the Crown," as reported by Bella Caledonia.

They belong to the "Committees for the Defense of the Republic" (CDR), a non-violent grassroots community organization which supports the release of 12 political prisoners who face up to 24 years in prison due to their involvement in the referendum held on Oct 1, 2017.

Spanish police operations have intensified in recent weeks as regional courts are expected to issue verdicts on those 12 cases soon.

In order to justify the extraordinary nature of their surveillance actions, the Spanish authorities have hinted that the Catalan pro-independence activists are "presumably" planning violent actions.

“Repression remains the only answer from the Spanish state. They are trying to build again a narrative of violence before the rulings. Those verdicts are due in the next few weeks,” the Catalan government leader Joaquim Torra said, adding that "the pro-independence movement is and will always be peaceful."

As a symbolic way of vindicating the rights of his people, Torra keeps a large yellow ribbon and a rebel banner hanging on the main facade of the regional government building.

"Freedom for political prisoners and exiles," states the banner, which the Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia (TSJC) ordered to retire until Wednesday afternoon. President Torra, however, disobeyed.

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