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collyrob 3:42 Sun Oct 1
Catalan referendum

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the last eastender 2:52 Wed Feb 13
Re: Catalan referendum
Lots of Kremlin interference here.

roltrader 2:43 Wed Feb 13
Re: Catalan referendum
The Spanish government’s handling of the Catalonian independence movement is worse than a human rights outrage; it is a mistake.

The trial of a dozen separatist leaders on charges including “rebellion” and “sedition”, charges carrying sentences of up to 25 years in prison, ought to be unthinkable in country that is an established member of the European Union and a signatory of the European Convention on Human Rights.

From the beginning, from the confrontational way in which the Spanish police handled peaceful demonstrations in Catalonia, the authorities in Madrid have got this wrong. They responded to the attempts by the devolved parliament in Barcelona to seek independence with a heavy-handed refusal to respect free expression and democratic, non-violent demands.

The independence movement has not always handled its campaign in the most effective way. The unofficial referendum held in October 2017 was not a good mandate, and the parliament’s declaration of its independence a few weeks later was unwise.

But the central government’s response has been disgraceful. The charges brought against the leaders of the independence movement are plainly political and the long detention of those accused is unjustifiable. It ought to prick the conscience of all Spaniards and indeed all good Europeans that Carles Puigdemont, president of the putative breakaway republic, felt he had to flee the country.
For a non-violent political dissident to have to seek exile in another EU country – Belgium – is a stain on Spain’s membership of a union supposedly committed to the protection and furtherance of human rights.

What makes Tuesday’s court proceedings in Madrid so controversial is that, if the defendants are found guilty, they are bound to appeal, eventually to the European Court of Human Rights, where their right to peaceful expression of their views is almost certain to be recognised.

However, even if the Spanish national authorities refuse to accept that they are on the wrong side of human rights law, Pedro Sanchez, the Spanish prime minister, should realise that this is not the best way to defeat demands for Catalan independence.

We British should resist the temptation to lecture other nations on how to manage national and regional differences within states, but there is something to be learned from the way David Cameron dealt with demands for Scottish independence. He accepted the right of a people to govern themselves, and sought to persuade them in a democratic campaign that they should remain part of the larger union. The idea of making Alex Salmond, first minister of Scotland, a martyr by jailing him was never a remote possibility.

If Spain’s prime minister cannot see that what his government is doing in Catalonia is wrong, he should realise that it is counterproductive and risks storing up much greater trouble for the future.

goose 11:16 Wed Feb 13
Re: Catalan referendum
ATHLETIC only play people born in the Basque country or who have come through their youth system.

outside of west ham they are one of the greatest teams in the world.

boltkunt 11:06 Wed Feb 13
Re: Catalan referendum
Do ATHLETICO BILBAO have the rule they can only sign BASQUE based players?

goose 10:55 Wed Feb 13
Re: Catalan referendum
can we have a Basque referendum too??

David L 9:59 Wed Feb 13
Re: Catalan referendum
Oh do shut up Gav you tedious bore.

Now - those 5 reasons for staying in the EU please.

We're all waiting.......

Gavros 1:09 Wed Feb 13
Re: Catalan referendum
I'd love to see Farage, Johnson, Gove etc in chains.

Make my day, that would.

bruuuno 1:06 Wed Feb 13
Re: Catalan referendum
Southern European police/political corruption shocker. Good old EU

roltrader 8:38 Tue Feb 12
Re: Catalan referendum
This week, the trial of the Catalonian political prisoners begins in Spain. As the drama unfolds in front of the world, behind the scenes the Guardia Civil and the Spanish National Police will continue to round up less well-known activists for their political ”crimes”. The criminalization of political opposition is not merely confined to the prisoners currently on trial, but is in danger of becoming a routine response, part of the modus operandi of the Spanish state. We noted how such practices were targeting the anti-capitalist left in an article in Red Pepper last June. This relatively hidden, ongoing targeting has continued. Three weeks ago, the left-wing mayors of the Catalan towns of Verges and Celrà were arrested in a dawn raid along with a journalist from the magazine La Directa and 13 other activists. They were arrested for organizing peaceful protests demanding the release of political prisoners who are on trial this week. One of the most striking thing is that these 16 arrests were not ordered by a court – as is normal in such cases – but by a highly secretive unit of the Spanish national police dedicated to gathering intelligence on threats to the state.

The mayor of the Verges, Ignasi Sabater, is getting used to this treatment. Several months ago he was brought in front of a court and accused of “hate crimes” and “discrimination” against “the Spanish nation and the corps of the Guardia Civil.” Bizarre as it might seem, his experience is not unique. Numerous ordinary people who have dared to condemn police violence – or even talk about it in public – have been hauled in front of the judiciary, facing prison for “hate crimes” against the Spanish state.

The formal charge may seem bizarre, but it is an increasingly frequent one in the Catalonian conflict. Some witnesses have been charged with such “hate crimes” for posting Facebook statements and teachers have been charged with the same offence for daring to discuss the violence of the Spanish National Police and the Guardia Civil in school classrooms. If this article was to be published in Spain, it is quite possible it would be defined by the authorities as a “hate crime.”

As we note in our new book Building a New Catalonia, many of the contributors are incredibly brave, since they risk criminalization for their peaceful actions or merely for expressing their political aspirations in words. One of them, Carles Riera, a member of the Catalan Parliament is under investigation by a criminal court protesting against the detention of people from the Committees to Defend the Referendum. Another contributor, Jordi Cuixart, is in prison and will be on trial this Tuesday. And another, Anna Gabriel, former parliamentary leader of the CUP party, is in exile in Switzerland.

It is one of the central tenets of any democratic system that political opposition is tolerated and that the criminal law is not used for overtly political purposes. It is now impossible to discern a formal segregation between the machinery of the law and the machinery of government in Spain. Shortly before the last election for the Catalonian Parliament, in December 2018, a list of 31 high profile leaders was passed by the Guardia Civil to the judge leading the Spanish Supreme Court investigation the 1st October referendum. The document set out how each of them charged would be charged ‘rebellion’ and ‘sedition’, exactly the same offences that the political prisoners due to go on trial on the 12th February are being held for.

This situation would be remarkable enough if it were only high-profile leaders who were singled out for political show trials. But the scale of criminalization is incredible. A report published last year in Catalonia by 5 local councils (The Minotaur of ’78) revealed that in a 3 year period, 832 people have been charged by Spanish authorities with rebellion, sedition or ‘offences against the Crown’. Most are elected representatives; 712 of those charged are town mayors.

The Spanish government is deliberately using a tactic of criminalization to depoliticize what is essentially a political struggle. In this sense, using the law against the seditious is a well worn tactic: a weakened state seeks to reassert its sovereignty through the arbitrary use of law. At the same time, opponents are dismissed as criminal, people that cannot, and certainly should not, be bargained with. This is the utility of criminalization: to remove the political content from the dispute.

Despite the growing authoritarianism of the Spanish state, it is still not at all clear who is in really in control in Catalonia. The question of policing had symbolized the constitutional crisis in the weeks running up to the referendum when Madrid effectively launched a coup against the Catalonian government and took unilateral control of the administration. It found itself in, quite literally, what Italian philosopher Georgio Agamben would call a “state of exception” in which the normal constitutional order is completely paralysed to enable the sovereign to assert absolute control.

The problem for the Spanish state is that it remains paralyzed by the same state of exception that it imposed in October 2018. Madrid still really only has two choices. The first is to accept a permanent state of exception in Catalonia and maintain a strategy of criminalization that allows it to claim the situation is too unstable for normality government to be resumed. Or second to release the political prisoners, drop all political charges and agree to allow a referendum to be run peacefully, without resort to violence. The latter could not be regarded as particularly radical demands for a democratic state. On Sunday all of the major right wing parties held a demonstration of 45,000 people in Madrid calling for the dismissal of the Spanish Prime Minister Sanchez just because the government is keeping lines of communication open with the Catalonia government. This is the extent to which a very extreme and intolerant Spanish nationalism is gripping mainstream politics.

What is happening in Catalonia is astounding by any standard of democracy. It is nothing short of remarkable that the justice system in a modern European state can proceed in this way, with lists of political opponents who are lined up for arrest and immediate imprisonment. If this level of repression was happening anywhere else in the world, European politicians would be lining up to condemn the Prime Minister and demand the release of all political prisoners immediately. The regular arrests of political opponents are part of a very deliberate net-widening campaign on the part of the Spanish government in which the criminal justice system has been politicized to an extent that would probably not be possible in any other European country.

Mex Martillo 8:13 Tue Feb 12
Re: Catalan referendum
Court case started today in Madrid
Just 14 months in prison waiting for trail after the arrests

Mex Martillo 9:37 Wed Dec 5
Re: Catalan referendum
Nurse Ratched 12:41 Wed Dec 5
Re: Catalan referendum

“Banned in all of Spain?”
Bull fighting is only banned in Catalonia (within Spain). Bull fighting is legal and happily practice in the rest of Spain. In Catalonia they still run bulls (like in Pamplona) and other lower level bull torcher for fun, so not all animal friendly.

“And isn't it the Spanish Govt suppressing the Catalans?”
Yes, completely. EU just ignore it as supposedly should not happen in the EU and I guess no one wants to tell a member not to do that.

Dwight Van Mann 9:05 Wed Dec 5
Re: Catalan referendum
them fucking Russian Jesuits again innit mate

Boycie 8:34 Wed Dec 5
Re: Catalan referendum
Psssst it’s the Russians again

Mike Oxsaw 7:01 Wed Dec 5
Re: Catalan referendum
An EU army would sort the Catalans out good and proper, make no mistake.

Can't think why nobody more intelligent than most has not yet proposed forming one.

Nurse Ratched 12:41 Wed Dec 5
Re: Catalan referendum
Banned in all of Spain? And isn't it the Spanish Govt suppressing the Catalans?

joe royal 12:40 Wed Dec 5
Re: Catalan referendum
Ban on bullfighting in Catalonia. Bullfighting was banned in the Spanish autonomous community of Catalonia by a vote of the Catalan Parliament in July 2010. The ban came into effect on 1 January 2012. The last bullfight in the region took place in Barcelona in September 2011.

joe royal 12:39 Wed Dec 5
Re: Catalan referendum
Bullfighting has been banned for at least 5 years.

Nurse Ratched 12:37 Wed Dec 5
Re: Catalan referendum
Aren't these the filthy apes who enjoy bullfighting and chuck donkeys off church roofs or whatever it is for fun? Can't say it comes as a shock that their politics are a bit uncivilised.

Roeder-nowhere 12:29 Wed Dec 5
Re: Catalan referendum
It’s funny how such fascist dictatorial behaviour is so easily swept under tne carpet by British media- one ounce of political incorrectness in the UK and we’re up in arms yet the diabolica violence, ongoing oppression and out and out facist behaviour of tne Spanish is all forgotten or suddenly not important or newsworthy!
If you had seen pensioners getting battered for wanting to express an opinion as I had when on holiday in barcelona you’d be outraged- but for some reason it’s a fad, soon forgotten outside Spain

Westham67 11:57 Tue Dec 4
Re: Catalan referendum
Where is the free Catalan I need one ?

muskie 11:25 Tue Dec 4
Re: Catalan referendum
Swiss = utter cunt.

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