I AM a Catalan citizen and English teacher in my fifties. On Monday a photojournalist specialising in ultra-right movements, Jordi Borras, was attacked in Barcelona. This is one more of many attacks in relation to the Catalan right to self-determination. It is my intention to put this attack in context to international media.

Catalonia is a nation and has got a parliament with a long history. The Catalan Constitution dates back to 1283. Five centuries later, in 1700, war starts (which Catalans lost in 1714, this is what we commemorate on our National Day, “Diada”, every September 11). The Borbon Family eliminates the separation that had been respected until then between Castilian and Catalan institutions. This is the beginning of the forced birth of the Spanish Empire, the beginning of the attack against Catalan language, culture and institutions. Pau Casals explained it beautifully at the UNO in 1971 in New York. Here is the link to his speech.

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The Catalan Parliament passed a law for the Self-Determination Referendum on September 6, 2017. The Spanish Constitutional Court recognised on November 29, 2017 that the procedure was legal and correct. Refer to this and this.

Organising a referendum is not illegal in Spain. The law 2/2005 specifically decriminalises the call for referendums. You can check the law here

On October 1, 2017 we voted. But the Spanish Police Guardia Civil (a military force) widely used violence against the voters, trying to stop the referendum. More than 1000 people were injured. Please have a short look (a couple of clicks will be enough to give you a feeling) at this amazing interactive map, with pinned videos showing the Spanish police attacking regular citizens at the polling stations.

On October 27, 2017 the Spanish state used the direct rule (article 155 of Spanish Constitution) to organise new regional elections, held on December 21, 2017. But article 155 of the Spanish constitution does not allow calling for elections or the removal of elected officials. Please refer to this.

Despite having everything against them, the pro-indy groups won again on December 21, 2017 by absolute majority. The answer for this, from the Spanish Government, was not respecting the results and blocking the investiture of Puigdemont, Sánchez and Turull. Since then, prison and exile for our representatives. Seven elected members of the Catalan Government in prison, two peaceful grassroots leaders in prison and seven elected members of the government in exile in Europe.

According to German Court (July 12, 2018) neither rebellion nor sedition crimes have been committed. This is a clear sign that there are no procedural guarantees for our representatives in Spain.

Misappropriation of public funds must be proven (misappropriation for organising a referendum is a very strange concept). Former Spanish Government (Popular Party, Mr Montoro and also President Rajoy) certified to the Spanish courts that no public money was used in the self-determination Referendum. Please refer to this.

Shamefully we still have political prisoners in Spain. For how long? More than 1100 people have been called to court for giving support to the referendum. This is a general cause with no precedents in democratic countries. At this moment, there are 712 town majors prosecuted, 180 citizens prosecuted (number growing).

Our response? Major peaceful demonstrations and non-violent actions. Side by side, the number of ultra-right attacks on people wearing yellow ribbons (symbol of asking for the prisoners to be freed) is increasing. Political prisoners must be released as soon as possible, and exiled representatives should be free to come back to Catalonia.

This lack of democracy should be unacceptable in the European Union, as well for any democratic country. The point is: are we, the Catalans, entitled to basic human rights as everybody else? If so, why are more than 1100 people called to court?

Does the right to self-determination apply to our case, based on our history, our past, our institutions and our democratic way?

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