Catalan President arrested by Spanish police

  • By Stefano Guttusu

The President of Catalonia, Artur Mas has appeared in court in the Catalan capital, Barcelona under charges for organising an independence vote.

Thousands of supporters sang the Catalan anthem and chanted “Down with Spanish justice” outside the court as he faced charges of disobeying a court ban on the November 2014 vote. Hundreds of regional mayors joined the protest at the Catalonia Supreme Court.

An incredible 80% of the people voted for independence in November 2014, which Spain ruled non-binding and illegal.

Thousands of protesters gather outside of the courts

Thousands of protesters gather outside of the courts (Image Courtesy of AFP)

Spain’s central government in Madrid has pledged to challenge any unilateral moves towards independence in court, arguing such actions are against the constitution. National polls in Spain are to be held on 20 December.

The Catalan leader’s supporters complain the judicial case against him and two colleagues is politically motivated. As well as civil disobedience, he faces charges of misusing public funds in order to organise the vote.

President Mas told the court he was completely responsible for the vote but said: “I don’t understand why I’m here giving explanations.”

Last month, pro-independence parties in Catalonia won a majority in regional elections but fell short of securing 50% of the vote.

EU leaders against Catalan independence state that the EU binds them to protect the integrity, sovereignty and entirety of all it’s members. Whilst EU leaders for Catalan independence cite democracy, right to self determination and hypocrisy over military interventions other EU nations engaged in to support other separatist regions around the world such as Kosovo and the Kurdish rebels.

Europe has a vast number of separatist movements across the highly diverse continent with Spain facing independence calls from Catalonia, Basque Region, Andalusia and several other regions (totaling 7).