Mar 23 2018—NEWS—Puigdemont says not time to surrender in message from Helsinki; protestors clash with riot police in Barcelona: 24 injured.
The Catalan Parliament announced late on Friday evening that a second-round confidence debate would go ahead at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday despite the candidate, Jordi Turull (PDeCAT) having been imprisoned on remand in Madrid by a Supreme Court judge.
The Speaker of the regional chamber, Roger Torrent, will make a statement following the session—which opposition groups said should be cancelled—”in defence of democratic principles and civil and political rights”.
Angry separatist supporters in several towns in the region took to the streets in protest at the court’s decision to jail five more leaders, after investigating judge Pablo Llarena announced earlier in the day that he was ready to send 25 to trial for different combinations of rebellion, the misuse of public funds and contempt related to the declaration of independence last October.
In Vic, they sang Els Segadors; in Barcelona, they clashed with Catalan Police riot officers defending central government officers in the city; in Tarragona, one group decided to march and cut off traffic on the AP7 motorway.
Local police estimated 10,000 protestors had been present in Barcelona, and the regional health service reported 24 people had been lightly injured.
Local separatist groups known as CDRs called supporters on to the streets via Telegram, but later called off the protests, after claiming Catalan Police were preparing to use rubber bullets against demonstrators.
After giving a speech at the University of Helsinki, Carles Puigdemont told separatists still in Spain via a statement headed with “the government of the republic” that the Spanish state “wants to imprison ideas, beliefs, words, thoughts, politics”.
He said “freedom, democracy, tolerance, modernity” were “at risk” because of the “reactionary involution of the Spanish state” which was seeking revenge, not justice.
“This is not the time for surrender but for firmness, conviction and dignity”, he continued: “we have honest and honourable politicians in jail and in exile”.
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