Spaniards take to streets while Catalan separatists fear imminent arrest

MEHMET SOLMAZ
BARCELONA
Published
Carla Sanchez (c) waving Catalan flag during a pro-unity demonstration in Barcelona, Oct. 29.
Carla Sanchez (c) waving Catalan flag during a pro-unity demonstration in Barcelona, Oct. 29.

After the Spanish government triggered article 155, circulating rumors say that secessionist leaders, including Puidgemont himself, could be imminently arrested

After the Spanish central government in Madrid dissolved the Catalan parliament and detained two leaders of public organizations siding with Catalonia's independence, it is alleged that Carles Puigdemont, the president of the Government of Catalonia, might be arrested at any moment.

Separatist politicians are bewildered as the popular support for independence is in decline following the chaotic referendum process, while thousands poured into the streets in Barcelona to give support to the central government of Madrid. People argue that the crowd of some 5,000 people who gathered during Catalonia's unilateral declaration of independence was outnumbered by the crowds gathering for Barcelona Football Club's games, which sees around 60,000 fans gather per game.

Speaking to Daily Sabah, a group of pro-independence Catalans asked the politicians to act in accordance with the poll results. Instead of an air of festivity, autumn silence is prevalent in the streets of Barcelona.

Later on Sunday, thousands of Spaniards filled the streets of Barcelona and gathered at the famous Garcia Avenue, shouting in Spanish: "Puigdemont a prision" (Puigdemont to prison).

No democracy with manipulations

Saying that they feel they are part of Spain and Europe, Spaniard protester Carla Sanchez told Daily Sabah that the Catalan leader and his team do not care about the voice of people, adding that "everyone would vote in a legitimate poll anyway." Claiming that many cast two or more votes, Sanchez said, "Even foreigners with temporary IDs were made to cast votes in the referendum that is against the constitution."

Puigdemont should be in jail

Joining the pro-Madrid protest with her friends, Maria Donatiu said the central government had tried every option to avoid a crisis in Catalonia, and "therefore the state should not allow Puigdemont to ignore the law anymore and put him in jail, the only place where he deserves to be."

SEPARATIST POLITICIANS SILENT, FEAR ARREST

Majority constituted, what's said is said

Dr. Estaban Teixido Jardi, 85, a retired physicist who was among the protesters gathered before the Barcelona Municipality wearing his Catalan-flagged hat, said 82 deputies in the 135-seat parliament voted for independence, so it will not be possible to annul the decision since the majority is constituted.

Reminding that the Catalan leader was unseated and the central government's Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Sáenz Santamaría was assigned as the leader of Catalonia's autonomous government, Jardi said: "No matter how much Europe supports Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, they want the problem to be solved through dialogue. Rajoy cannot dare order the police to attack us or arrest our politicians."

We will either draft our constitution or become a part of Spain



Hanging the banners he prepared in front of the Catalan government office, Miguel Carrera said he has been sleeping at Sant Jaume Square for a few days and calling people to support independence. Describing the dissolution of the Catalan administration as a "risky decision," the activist said the central government does not favor a political solution and the issue directly interests people as of now.



"People will make a choice between remaining as a part of Spain and drafting the constitution of independent Catalonia. The latter has been the original purpose of the people who took to the streets. Instead of respecting the people's choice and helping the referendum to be held without an incident, the central government did everything to prevent this step," Carrera said.

I do not want Catalonia to be ruled by Madrid



Human rights advocate Arrados Santiago, who was born and grew up in Barcelona, said he was disturbed by the conflicts during the referendum process and has not left the streets after the disproportionate force used by the police. "I am against violence and I have witnessed the use of excessive force so many times. So I persistently come here to help people in case of a possible intervention. I do not want Catalonia to be directly ruled by the central government," Santiago added.

Catalan politicians must stick to independence



Going around central Barcelona wearing a massive Catalan flag as a cape, computer science student Aleix Lascorz said Catalans have spoken and it is time for politicians to act upon the results of the referendum. "We have declared independence and the logical thing to do is to act accordingly. Therefore, we are not subject to what Madrid might say and the Catalan government should not do what they say. The parliament has declared that we are a separate country now. The politicians brought us the ballot boxes and now they must act accordingly. They do not have a choice, we are the ones who had our say in the referendum. What is more important than independence is the central government ignoring the people's voice. We want to be heard. I want independence, because I believe the Catalan government would not play deaf to our thoughts as Madrid does."

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