Since August the tensions between Spain and Catalonia have increased. The intentions of Catalan governmental leader Carles Puigdemont has provoked that 700 companies already left the region and the tourism is suffering a reduction of revenue by 15% since summer.

Hard time for judges: Spain’s justice has to prove independence

Artists and intellectuals critizise the way the separatism is diving society and Economist fear longterm damage for Catalonia and Spain at a whole.While Mariano Rajoy in Madrid and Puigdemont are playing with the emotions of both side, justice is acting:  Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart, respective presidents of ANC and Omnium, have been put under provisional arrest.  Thus, these charges are unrelated to the constitutional right of demonstration as stated by ANC and Omnium and others. Both  summoned and coordinated a mob of thousands to surround a building where police and a Judicial Clerk were conducing a search. This resulted in the officers and having to spend about 24 hours, including the night, locked inside and the destruction of 4 police vehicles (with weapons that were removed from the inside, though later returned). The Judicial Clerks, terrified and humiliated, as she stated, had to leave crawling through the rooftop, enter the building attached – a theatre – and hide among the public in order to be able to escape.

JPG Flyer 1In issuing the order to send them to prison after this second hearing – , the judge had different options to consider as preventive measures. Indeed, Trapero, the major of the Regional Catalan police, also charge with sedition charges, has just been ordered not to leave the country and present himself at the court every two weeks. The judge has weighed a number of factors, including personal circumstances of the accused; the nature and severity of the charges, and the likelihood that similar events take place again. Their right to defence has always been guaranteed with the presence of their attorneys and have the right to fair trail. The court rule guarantees that the legal process is properly followed since it ensures the presence of the two accused throughout the procedure and mitigates potential risks.

Catalan Seperatist try to make a political arrestment case out of it

What happened on September 20 and 21:

• ANC and Omnium Cultural called for massive demonstrations not with the intention to be pacific, but to “protect the Catalan institutions”, i.e. they gathered in front of the places where the police, following the instructions of the independent judiciary, were conducting a search about the illegal referendum that took place on October 1;
• An official WhatsApp group of Omnium Cultural called to “Stop the Civil Guard (the Spanish police)”;
• The ANC had a street stall from where it organised the work of volunteers in the blockade;
• At every point, Mr Sanchez and Mr Cuixart claimed to be the “mediators” and leaders of the blockade, directly talking with the police on how it should or could leave the building.
• Both organisations used social media and websites to promote the blockade of the building.
As a result:

• Members of the Catalan Socialist Party were beaten;

• Police cars were destroyed by protesters;
• Police officers and a Judicial Clerk were illegally retained through the night.
What will happen this week?

If Puigdemont does not step back from separatism, there will be the application of article 155 of the Spanish constitution that allows the National government to apply  to take whatever necessary steps to compel any regional government into complying with the law. This means that *155 does not allow for creating new Catalan laws* but to force the regional government, the Generalitat in this case, to comply with existing laws, national and regional. In short, *155 exists to restore the rule of law*. In 1989 the then Primer Minister Felipe González sent a requirement, based on article 155, to the regional government of the Canary Islands regarding the refusal by that government to apply some European laws. However, coercive measures were neither proposed nor applied.

Given the need to guarantee the rule of law and bring back political and social stability, the *most likely immediate interventions are the Regional Catalan Police as well as some kind of further interventions in the finances*. One of the man questions is *who will be the individuals responsible for actually implementing* all agreed measures on the daily basis for it is obvious that the people currently in those positions of responsibility in the regional Catalan police and government need to put temporary aside since they are the ones responsible for not complying with them. Keep in mind that Mr Trapero, the head of the Catalan police, has been charged with sedition and that the judge has already heard him twice and has not dismissed the charges yet. On the contrary, the judge has established preventive measures ordering him to present himself at a court every two weeks and has instructed him not to leave the country, even by taking away his passport. Thus, there are big doubts on how the Mossos d’Esquadra will behave.

All proposed measures need to be discussed first by the General Commission of the Autonomous Communities (in Spain, the regions are called Autonomous Communities). Catalonia, being an autonomous community, is represented in that commission. Thus, the Generalitat can make its case and defend its position and refute the measures proposed by the National government. The final report of this Senate Commission of Regions will establish the limits and rules of all, if any, coercive measures to be applied by the National Government.

Finally, as I mentioned last time, article 155 is a copy of the German Constitution. Exactly, article 37 “Federal Execution”:

(1) If a Land fails to comply with its obligations under this Basic Law or other federal laws, the Federal Government, with the consent of the Bundesrat, may take the necessary steps to compel the Land to comply with its duties.

(2) For the purpose of implementing such coercive measures, the Federal Government or its representative shall have the right to issue instructions to all Länder and their authorities.

Miriam Tey,
Vicepresidenta de Societat Civil Catalana (SCC)

Read as well this to better understand the Catalan Problem.