“THE TIME FOR ACTION IS NOW”
The Catalan Defence Committee Scotland (CDCS) along with figures and organisations from civic society, last week called for action to defend human rights and democracy in Catalonia following the arrest of former Catalan Education Minister Clara Ponsatí.
The statement released by CDCS – a group set up to support Catalonia’s right to self-determination – called for people, parties, other bodies and Government across Europe to stand against authoritarianism.
Last week, Ponsatí, an academic now working at St Andrew’s University, handed herself in to police after Spain reissued extradition warrants. Days prior, former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont was arrested in Germany.
Madrid has clamped down on Catalan democracy and political leaders since the Catalan Government held an independence referendum on 1st October last year. Several MPs and grassroots leaders have been imprisoned and many forced into exile.
Over the last week, online videos have emerged of police beating peaceful protesters demonstrating against the arrest of leaders in exile.
CDCS is holding a demonstration at Buchanan Street Steps in Glasgow at 1pm on Saturday 14 April - six months on from when the first leaders were imprisoned and part of international solidarity protests that weekend. It invites all who support the right to self-determination and oppose the extradition of Clara Ponsatí to attend.
We must recognise the fundamental and inalienable rights of all peoples across the world to self-determination and condemn in the strongest possible terms the authoritarian actions of the Spanish state in oppressing Catalan democracy.
Many of the rights we enjoy today were secured through the collective solidarity of people and organisations across the world. We offer that solidarity today and tomorrow.
We are calling on Scotland’s people, political parties and civic institutions to show that same solidarity. Not to reflect their support for independence, to protect the principles of democracy against authoritarianism. With arrest warrants executed in Scotland and elsewhere in Europe, the protection of human rights is firmly in the hands of civic society across the continent.
Catalan leaders forced into exile must not be extradited to Spain, where we question whether they would receive a fair trial given the ongoing criminalisation of dissent. Police violence must not be used against innocent civilians simply exercising their rights. The rights that underpin our society must not be trampled on. The time for action is now.
Catalan Defence Committee Scotland
Catalan National Assembly Scotland
Glasgow Trades Union Council
Sandra White, SNP MSP
Alan Bissett, Playwright
Lesley Riddoch, Broadcaster
Mike Small, Editor, Bella Caledonia
Bob Thomson, Former Chair Scottish Labour
Chris Stephens, SNP MP
Isobel Lindsay, Peace campaigner
Carlo Morelli, UCU union national executive member
Stephen Smellie, North Lanarkshire Unison Branch Secretary
Debora Kayembe, Human rights lawyer
Maggie Chapman, Co-Convener Scottish Greens
Connor Beaton, National secretary SSP
Jim Bollan, Community Party Councillor
George Kerevan, Former SNP MP and National columnist
Sarah Glynn, Scottish Unemployed Workers Network
Jonathon Shafi, Radical Independence Campaign
SNP Friends of Catalonia
SNP Youth: Young Scots for Independence
SNP Students: Federation of Student Nationalists
SNP Friends of Palestine