From our special correspondent in Barcelona
On this Saturday, November 11, 750.000 demonstrators, according to the police, had met on Carrer Marina in Barcelona to call for the release of "political prisoners": eight ministers of the deposed former Catalan government and the two presidents of the Omnium and Catalan National Assembly (ANC) associations who organized the event. Everything was done to stage "brutal repression" on the part of the Spanish government: the families of imprisoned politicians had been placed at the head of the procession. They then read messages from their loved ones, often addressed to the crowd all committed to the Catalan independence cause.
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Recorded video messages from ex-president Carles Puigdemont, now in exile, and the four ministers accompanying him to the Belgian capital, were shown on the big screen. “People have the right to decide their future through the ballot box,” said Carles Puigdemont. From Brussels I hear your cries!”. The intervention of the health adviser, Antonio Comin, is the one that touched the crowd the most: “We are proud of you, despite the anger and the sadness. See you soon in Barcelona.”
From the start of the demonstration at 17 p.m., the crowd had filled the 2,5 kilometers of the long and wide Carrer Marina in a good-natured atmosphere. Many parents had come as a family with their children, even very young babies in pushchairs. This family atmosphere did not prevent the demonstrators from whistling each time the police helicopter flew over them. The police, not very visible, wore no protection, the independence demonstrations having never triggered violence. "It's our red line: no violence" had reminded us before the demonstration the vice-president of the Catalan National Assembly, Agusti Alcoberro.
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"I'm fed up with the fascists of Madrid"
“I came because I want it, independence, and I'm tired of the fascists in Madrid, says Alicia, 18. My parents tell me that I am influenced by my teachers whom they accuse of being independentists and of indoctrinating us. But it's wrong! I have my free will." The main slogan launched by the crowd was "Freedom" for those they consider to be political prisoners. “I am disgusted by the fascist attitude of the Madrid government, laments Maria, 66. I'm not used to coming to demonstrate, but when you see what they are doing, you can't not react.
An orchestra of about thirty cellos played between the interventions which concluded with speeches by the vice-president of Omnium, Marcel Mauri, and of the ANC, Agusti Alcoberro. "Smile, repression cannot defeat democracy, proclaimed the first, you are not alone!" not forgetting the "No pasaran" which was widely taken up by the crowd. Agusti Alcoberro affirmed the determination of the separatists who "will remain mobilized as long as he remains a political prisoner".
Next appointment: December 21 for the regional elections. An important test that will measure the effect of Madrid's inflexible attitude on the independence vote.
Source: Le Figaro Premium – In Barcelona, hundreds of thousands of Catalans demand the freedom of “political prisoners”