In our newest guest column, read our special on-the-ground reports of what’s happening on the streets of Catalonia from American journalist and Barcelona resident-of-two-decades Lynn Baiori.
Saturday night in Barcelona. Estimates by the Guardia Urbana police force claim 750,000 people spent last Saturday evening on the streets of Barcelona lighting the route from Carrer Marina to the Sagrada Familia and calling in unison for “llibertat“, liberty. The demonstration was organized by L’Assemblea Nacional Catalana (ANC) and Òmnium Cultural, Catalan civil organizations supporting independence. The presidents of both groups have been held without bail since October 16 on charges of sedition. Peaceful protests have taken place over the past weeks throughout Catalonia, asking for their release as well as the release of the vice-president of the ousted Catalan government and seven ministers, who were arrested on November 2.
On Thursday evening, groups of people repeated the call for the release of prisoners throughout the four provinces of Catalonia.
Incarcerated and ousted leaders will be presenting themselves as candidates in next month’s Generalitat elections. Jordi Sànchez, the jailed president of the ANC, has just announced he will run as a member of Puigdemont’s party, making him an attractive draw to the polls for many of those supporting the release of prisoners and calling for an independent Catalonia.
Spain’s president, Mariano Rajoy, was also in Barcelona on the weekend of November 11, appealing to pro-unionist voters to turn out in mass in the December 21 Catalan parliamentary elections. During a speech he gave on Sunday, he predicted,“The silent majority will turn their voices into votes.”
With the election just over a month away, we are gearing up for increased political posturing, more speculation and greater crowds out on the streets, silent and otherwise.