TWO years ago today, the Catalan independence referendum drew the attention of the world as Spanish Civil Guard officers were filmed beating people trying to vote in the poll, which Spain had deemed illegal.

Feelings are still running high in Catalonia, where leading independence figures await the verdicts in their trial after being locked up for almost two years, and a new crackdown has resulted in seven more indy activists being held in a “preventative detention” facility.

Overnight, the 131 peaks of the spectacular mountains of Montserrat, outside the Catalan capital Barcelona, were illuminated in an act of “light and freedom” (Llum i Llibertat) to remember the presidents of Catalonia and demand its freedom from Spain – an initiative organised by Artists for the Republic, the Catalan National Assembly (ANC), the Federation of Hiking Organisations of Catalonia and supported by Òmnium Cultural.

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At the same time, a lantern was lit in the House of the Republic at Waterloo, Belgium, where former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont remains in exile. Pro-indy figures from politics and civic society groups attended the switch-on last night, including Catalan President Quim Torra, who later ascended San Jerónimo, the highest peak in the range, which is associated with the 131th president of the Catalan government.

Meanwhile, Puigdemont suggested yesterday that Spain’s judiciary was trying to embroil him in terrorism allegations in a bid to persuade Belgium to extradite him after two European arrest warrants issued by Madrid failed.

He wrote on Twitter: “This is lawfare taken to its limits: from rebels to terrorists in order to try to manipulate, again, the European arrest warrant procedure.

“They will fail again, because all they will find is that we continue as we always have, with democracy, civility and non-violence.”

His comments came in response to reports on Spain’s biggest radio station, Cadena SER, suggesting that his sister Anna Puigdemont had met with five of the pro-indy activists who were sent to prison last week on allegations of terrorism.

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It claimed the meeting was secret and held to “hand over sensitive documents and set up secure communications” between Puigdemont and Torra through the former’s sister and the activists.

While the case is subject to a gag order, there have been several leaks in Spanish media outlets in the past few days.

Puigdemont’s sister denied the meeting had happened, saying in a statement: “It is physically impossible that I took part in that meeting for family reasons, which are perfectly accredited and documented. We have always contemplated this desire [for independence] and fight with the absolute commitment to democratic, civic and peaceful paths.”

Roger Torrent, speaker of the Catalan parliament, also rejected calls for Torra to appear in the chamber to explain the reports, which he said were “absolutely outlandish leaks”