By Estefania Aguirre
The arrests on Friday and Sunday of Catalonian government officials may lead to a ‘Catalonian Spring’ and eventually the creation of a federal Spain, if unrest continues to grow.
Tensions in the region of Catalonia are very high after demonstrations were held on the evening of March 25 in Barcelona and Lérida protesting the arrest of former president Carles Puigdemont earlier that day and the imprisonment of pro-independence leaders.
The German police transferred former Puigdemont to the prison of Neumünster after retaining him Sunday noon in Schuby when crossing the border by car from Denmark to Belgium.
Puigdemont, who did not board his return flight he had booked for Saturday, has been residing in Belgium since fleeing Spain on Oct. 30 after a controversial Catalan independence referendum was held on Oct. 1.
On Friday – a day after he arrived in Finland to speak at the University of Helsinki – Spain’s Supreme Court issued a European arrest warrant against six fugitive Catalan politicians including himself, the general secretary of the political party Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (Republican Left of California), Marta Rovira, and ex-ministers Antoni Comín, Meritxell Serret, Lluís Puig and Clara Ponsatí.
After the ruling of judge Pablo Llarena on March 23 stating that 25 Catalan separatists in total would be tried for rebellion, embezzlement or state disobedience, hundreds of protesters convoked by pro independence groups clashed with police that night when they tried to access the Spanish government’s delegation in Barcelona at the Palacio Montaner.
Scotland police confirmed on Sunday that Catalonia’s former regional minister of education, Clara Ponsatí, is arranging with them to turn herself in.
Others charged with rebellion are former Catalan vice-president Oriol Junqueras, who is already in detention; seven other members of the ousted Catalan government; former Catalan parliament speaker Carme Forcadell and jailed separatist activists Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart.
Just before her appointment on Friday to appear before the Spanish Supreme Court, Rovira fled to Switzerland joining the ex-deputy of the CUP (Candidatura d’Unitat Popular), Anna Gabriel, who fled there last month.
Convictions could result in up to 30 years in prison. All deny the allegations.
Many pro-independence supporters such as Tayssir Azouz, member of the Associació de Tunisians a Catalunya (Association of Tunisians in Catalonia) and the Assemblea Nacional Catalana (the Catalan National Assembly) – one of the main groups that organised Sunday evening’s protests – are referring to separatists as “political prisoners” and are calling for a “Catalonian Spring”.
According to El País, 42% of the region’s population voted in the illegal referendum held on Oct. 1, of which 90% voted in favour of independence.
José Manuel Maza – the Attorney General of Spain who signed the lawsuits of rebellion, sedition and embezzlement against the government of Catalonia on Oct. 31 last year – died suddenly on Nov. 18 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
An autopsy was not done to verify the real causes of his death, attributed to a kidney infection complicated by his diabetes.
Tax haven neighbouring country Andorra – where allegedly many Catalonian government officials have secretly kept their fortunes for years – announced that from Jan. 1, 2018, it will share information of accounts held by non-residents.
Despite its official statement published less than a fortnight after the Catalan referendum, many continue to believe the Open Society Foundations – lead by oligarch George Soros – was involved in financing movements working for Catalonia’s independence.
The Catalan independence may be part of a broader ambition of splitting Europe up, taken from Leopold Kohr’s post-WWII idea to “cantonize” Europe, and transforming it into a conglomerate of small self-governed ‘nations’ under the full control of a corporate European super-state.