PRO-DEMOCRACY campaigners will march in solidarity with Catalonia and against Spanish repression and authoritarianism in London today.
Organisers of the demonstration are calling for the British government to condemn the violence by the Spanish state against “peaceful civilians” and demand the immediate release of political prisoners.
Leading separatist activists Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart, who head the Catalan National Assembly and Omnium Cultura respectively, were denied bail on Monday after being arrested on charges of sedition in the run-up to the independence referendum two weeks ago.
They are both accused of using mass mobilisations to prevent police officers from following a judge’s orders to stop the referendum, which had been ruled illegal by Spain’s constitutional court.
Under Spanish law, sedition is classified as using “force or illegal means to prevent the application of the law, the legitimate exercise of the functions of public authorities or the observance of administrative or judicial decisions” and carries a maximum sentence of 15 years’ imprisonment.
There were violent clashes across Catalonia on October 1, with Spain’s Civil Guard police using force as they tried to close polling stations across the region. Despite their attempts to stop the vote, more than two million people took part, of whom 92 per cent voted for independence.
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said after the poll: “Spain is a close ally and a good friend, whose strength and unity matters to the UK.” He demanded that the rule of law be upheld.
European institutions, including the European Union and Council of Europe, sided with the Spanish government and branded the referendum unconstitutional. The United Nations refused to participate in monitoring the voting.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has urged Theresa May to press for a political solution to the crisis and “to end police violence in Catalonia.”
The organisers of the march said: “We demand the immediate release of the political prisoners Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sanchez and the end of the repression and start of dialogue to accept the electoral mandate of the Catalan referendum.
“We call on the UK government to condemn the violence towards undefended peaceful civilians during the referendum vote in Catalonia and support the democratic solution.”
The marchers will gather from 11am at Piccadilly Circus in central London.