As Catalan President Carles Puigdemont spoke at a press conference in Brussels, details emerged of a Madrid document that partly blames the current crisis in Spain on a number of well known people from around the world. TJulian Assange and artist Yoko Ono as encouraging the Catalan independence referendum.
Brussels press conference
At the press conference, Puigdemont made it clear he was not in Brussels to claim asylum:
— An Phoblacht (@An_Phoblacht) October 31, 2017
He also said he accepted the snap election for Catalonia, imposed by Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, on 21 December.
He added that he and his colleagues would return to Catalonia once it is guaranteed they could act “with freedom and without threats”.
The document adds [pdf] that:
Around 50 names are included on the website referred to. They include Peter Gabriel, Gerry Adams, Viggo Mortensen, and Joan Baez.
In the days leading up to the referendum, the domains of official referendum sites were shut down. But WikiLeaks restored the main referendum site that provided information as well as voter registration details.
Inquisitor: And what did these Catalan devils do now?
Rajoy: Encouraged peaceful voting! pic.twitter.com/YqA13U8kih
— Julian Assange 🔹 (@JulianAssange) October 31, 2017
Madrid guilty of repression
In the lead-up to the referendum, police raided print works and newspapers to seize more than 10 million ballot papers. They also took voting boxes. The crackdown saw more than 700 officials taken in for questioning. And the Guardia Civil (paramilitary police) raided the offices of three Catalan government ministries. Several other Catalan government buildings were raided too, including Finance and the Telecommunications and IT headquarters.
A new Spanish ‘inquisition’
The referendum saw 89% of voters say yes to independence, from a turnout of 42%. Only days later, Spain’s constitutional court suspended any attempt to declare that. But the declaration of independence [pdf] went ahead anyway. they were given little choice but to seek refuge. Now, extradition requests and the issue of European arrest warrants are likely.
So it may not be the Spanish Inquisition. But the absurdity of the prosecution of the Catalan government, on charges of rebellion and sedition, is now increasingly turning into an inquisition. And as the indictment shows, it’s one that also seeks to blame people around the world for simply supporting democracy.