Torra was punished for disobeying calls from the Spanish Electoral Commission last spring before the Spanish parliamentary elections to remove symbols from Catalonia’s regional government building in support of Catalan policies imprisoned by the unconstitutional independence referendum of 2017.
According to the court, he violated the neutrality of public authorities in the election campaign. Torra pleaded guilty to merely “defending human rights and freedoms” by calling for the release of politicians who the separatists call political prisoners.
“Some judges have ruled that I can no longer be Catalan Prime Minister. I want to tell you that no unjust law and no action of revenge can overcome democracy, “Torra told the Catalans. He also said he would want his case to be dealt with by European courts. “Only there can Catalan separatists find justice,” he says. He called on the people of Catalonia to turn the next regional elections into a de facto referendum and to vote for separatist parties.
The demonstration on Monday evening was also convened by the organization of radical separatists, the Committees for the Defense of the Republic (CDR), from 7.30 pm to the Catalan capital Barcelona. Other associations want to demonstrate in front of the town halls of Catalan cities from 19:00.
The verdict was not surprising
Spain experienced mass demonstrations last fall following an October verdict by the Spanish Supreme Court over 12 separatist politicians, including former regional government ministers. Nine were sentenced to between nine and thirteen years in prison and three fined and banned from holding public office for one and eight months.
Catalan police are on call these days, local media reported last week as a verdict was expected. In addition, this week marks the anniversary of the referendum on Catalonia’s independence, which took place on 1 October 2017. The then Catalan government organized it, although it knew that such a vote was contrary to the Spanish Constitution and thus subject to criminal prosecution.
At that time, 90 percent of voters voted for independence, but the turnout was only 43 percent. It was low, partly because Madrid tried to prevent the plebiscite in court and by force. Spanish police officers confiscated election materials and ballot boxes and tried to thwart the vote.
The AP recalls that opinion polls and election results show that the roughly 7.5 million inhabitants of rich Catalonia are roughly halved in terms of the region’s possible independence.