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Protest against separatists' sentencing sets Barcelona streets ablaze

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Protest against separatists' sentencing sets Barcelona streets ablaze

By Joan Faus, Jon Nazca and Marco Trujillo

 

2019-10-16T233813Z_1_LYNXMPEF9F21X_RTROPTP_4_SPAIN-POLITICS-CATALONIA-PROTEST.JPG

A car burns during a protest after a verdict in a trial over a banned Catalonia's independence referendum in Barcelona, Spain, October 16, 2019. REUTERS/Jon Nazca

 

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Protesters set cars on fire and threw petrol bombs at police in the Spanish city of Barcelona on Wednesday, intensifying unrest sparked by the sentencing of Catalan separatist leaders who had sought to declare an independent state.

 

Divisions over a drive to split the northeastern region of Catalonia from Spain roiled the country in 2017, and re-surfaced on Monday when the Supreme Court sentenced nine politicians and activists to up to 13 years in jail.

 

Peaceful demonstration throughout Wednesday deteriorated after nightfall into clashes between police and protesters, prompting regional government leader Quim Torra to demand an immediate return to normality.

 

"We condemn violence," Torra said in a televised address after midnight, according to a translation of the Catalan language provided by Spain's state broadcaster.

 

"We cannot let these incidents happen in our country. This has to stop right now."

 

Police said Molotov cocktail petrol bombs and acid were thrown at officers. In some places, police charged at protesters and fired foam projectiles, Reuters witnesses said.

 

Acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said the government would act firmly and proportionately, and in concert with other political parties.

 

"The Catalan people and all of Spanish society must know that the government is considering all scenarios," Sanchez told a news conference in Madrid.

 

He added that the government had set up a special commission including the national intelligence agency to advise it on how to manage the situation.

 

Sanchez will lead his Socialist Party to Spain's second election this year on Nov. 10 under pressure from right-wing parties to be tougher on Catalonia and take control of the region's security forces.

 

"Sanchez must impose direct rule on Catalonia," said Albert Rivera, leader of liberal party Ciudadanos.

 

"MAKING NOISE"

Earlier on Wednesday, protesters blocked roads and train lines. Torra joined one march near the separatist stronghold of the town of Girona, which he later said was an example of the right way to protest the court decision.

 

At sunset, several thousand people, many of them young, congregated along a wide avenue in central Barcelona, waving pro-independence flags and throwing toilet paper in the air.

 

As the situation worsened, emergency services said 52 people had been treated in the course of the day for injuries sustained in Barcelona and other towns in the region.

 

Four people were detained without bail on Wednesday for their roles in skirmishes the previous night.

 

Isaac Graña, an 18-year-old student, said he thought protesters had burned containers because peaceful protests since 2012 had not achieved their goals.

 

"Making noise is the only way to make people pay attention to us," he said. "If Spain were a democratic state, people would not be jailed for wanting a vote," he added.

 

Since Torra's predecessor, Carles Puigdemont, held a referendum banned by Spanish courts, Catalonia has been closely watched by other European countries where there are also movements for independence, such as Scotland.

 

More than 4,000 companies have moved their headquarters out of Catalonia, including Catalan banks CaixaBank and Banco Sabadell.

 

Acting Economy Minister Nadia Calvino said growth in the euro zone's fourth-largest economy, which has been outperforming its neighbours, would have been faster were it not for the impact of Catalonia's independence bid.

 

La Liga, Spain's top soccer league, asked the Spanish Football Federation to move a match scheduled between Barcelona and Real Madrid on Oct. 26 to Madrid because of the protests.

 

Spain is now trying for a third time to extradite Puigdemont, who has been living in self-imposed exile in Belgium. The Brussels prosecutor's office said on Wednesday it had received the request, and it may take weeks to reach a decision.

 

(Additional reporting by Miguel Pereira in Barcelona, Andres Gonzalez, Ashifa Kassam, Belén Carreño, Emma Pinedo, Jose Elías Rodríguez and Ingrid Melander in Madrid, and by Marine Strauss in Brussels; Writing by Isla Binnie; Editing by Ingrid Melander, Timothy Heritage, Tom Brown and Sandra Maler)

 

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2019-10-17

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Spain has a lawful extradition request for Puigdemont, regardless of political views. He knowingly broke the law and defied the courts for his own political agenda. 

 

Brussels and the Belgian prosecutors are not complying with the law. Deliberately so. Neither did the Germans when Puigdemont was arrested there.

 

Laws cannot be enforced based on political will. Too many politicians nowadays think they are above the law. This sort of behavior reinforces that belief.

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1 minute ago, Baerboxer said:

Spain has a lawful extradition request for Puigdemont, regardless of political views. He knowingly broke the law and defied the courts for his own political agenda. 

 

Brussels and the Belgian prosecutors are not complying with the law. Deliberately so. Neither did the Germans when Puigdemont was arrested there.

 

Laws cannot be enforced based on political will. Too many politicians nowadays think they are above the law. This sort of behavior reinforces that belief.

more oversimplifications

 

Did I not explain to you (in a different thread) that this is a very complicated situation?

Blaming the politicians and the judges? In 99% of cases, I would agree with you. But not in this case.

And no, I am not a fan of that right winger Puigdemont.

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One thing is always for sure, the guy who is pressing for a separation also happens to be the guy who wants to be the head honcho of the proposed new country. I would call it treason 😞 

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16 minutes ago, phantomfiddler said:

One thing is always for sure, the guy who is pressing for a separation also happens to be the guy who wants to be the head honcho of the proposed new country. I would call it treason 😞 

Puigdemont has by far not a majority in the independence movement - he will always have to compromise with the very left ERC (they were the original Catalan government before a certain generalissimo put an end to it).

As I said, a complicated situation.

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A single dead in the confrontation and the accumulated tension from years,  will explode like a BOMB.

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2 hours ago, Tarteso said:

A single dead in the confrontation and the accumulated tension from years,  will explode like a BOMB.

It is time for mediaton, arbitration from outside.

An obvious solution would be to grant Cataluna far reaching self determination, without breaking away from Spain.

EU, where are you ?

 

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2 hours ago, oldhippy said:

It is time for mediaton, arbitration from outside.

An obvious solution would be to grant Cataluna far reaching self determination, without breaking away from Spain.

EU, where are you ?

 

Catalonia does not want more competencies, wants Self-Determination, to be an independent State without relation to Spain. At the same time, they want to belong to the Euro zone and the European Union would facilitate their accession. On the other hand, If Catalunya achieves independence, Pais Vasco will follow. It would be a dismemberment of the Spanish Territory. I will tell you where is EU, becouse Germany would have the same problem with Bavaria. Scotland ... Ireland (Great Britain). Corsica (France) ... Lombardy, Veneto, Sardinia (Italy)... Flandes (Belgium)...  Alta Silesia (Poland)... Moravia (Czech Republic) ... Transylvania (Romania)...  Greenland, Faroe Islands (Denmark).  

 

.

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16 minutes ago, Tarteso said:

Catalonia does not want more competencies, wants Self-Determination, to be an independent State without relation to Spain. At the same time, they want to belong to the Euro zone and the European Union would facilitate their accession. On the other hand, If Catalunya achieves independence, Pais Vasco will follow. It would be a dismemberment of the Spanish Territory. I will tell you where is EU, becouse Germany would have the same problem with Bavaria. Scotland ... Ireland (Great Britain). Corsica (France) ... Lombardy, Veneto, Sardinia (Italy)... Flandes (Belgium)...  Alta Silesia (Poland)... Moravia (Czech Republic) ... Transylvania (Romania)...  Greenland, Faroe Islands (Denmark).  

 

.

I agree, and as I said before, I am in favor of a EU of regions, not of national states.

But I don't think Europe is ready for that - yet.

 

Many years ago, in Queralbs, I saw this slogan: Si l'Espagna es mi madre, yo soy un hijo de puta (pardon my spanish....).

Or nice story: a man starts to talk to me, I answer in my very limited Spanish "yo no habla espagnol" - man pretends to be angry and says in perfect French: moi non plus, je ne parle pas l'espagnol....

I was in Cataluna, when Aznar forbade the Catalans to hang out white flags in protest to his friend Bush's Irak war.

But to be fair, during many visits in the past 40 years, I also encountered many Catalans who opposed independency.

As for politicians, my favorite was Carod-Rovira.

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8 hours ago, oldhippy said:

I also encountered many Catalans who opposed independency.

 40% of population don't want Independence, so what should we do with these Citizens, Submission?. More than 3000 Companies and Banks have left Catalonia after referendum.

Edited by Tarteso

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