Spain Cracks Down on Protesters, Sentences Catalan Separatists to Prison

Exiled Catalan leader slams length of prison sentences

Flights are being canceled in Barcelona as police are out in force against demonstrators, charging crowds of pro-independence protesters and beating them severely. Dozens have been reported wounded.

This crackdown was expected well in advance, as Spain’s Supreme Court handed out lengthy prison terms to a number of politicians of the former Catalonia government, which Spain forcibly dissolved. Everyone is being charged with sedition.

Exiled Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont also had a new arrest warrant issued by Spain, though it is still unlikely that Belgium is going to arrest and hand him over. Puigdemont was heavily critical of the latest prison terms, calling them an “atrocity” and urging Europe to react in the name of democracy.

Catalonia voted to secede from Spain in a 2017 referendum, though Spain insisted it was illegal to even hold the vote, let alone try to apply the results. Spain has argued that referenda on self determination violate the crown’s rights to the territory.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of