Catalan activists, associations, members of civil society, mayors and elected officials of the Pyrénées-Orientales mobilized on Friday in front of the Spanish consulate in Perpignan, to denounce the arrest in Italy of the Catalan independence leader Carles Puigdemont. A hundred people hung on the gates of the consulate separatist banners and demanded the “release of political prisoners”. Arrested Thursday in Sardinia, the former president of the government of the region of Catalonia, was released on Friday pending the hearing on the extradition request to Spain on October 4.
“It remains to be seen whether Italian justice will side with European justice or Spanish justice. We do not know what pressure Spain will exert on Italy, which it usually does, ”feared Francesc Bitlloch, local representative of the ANC (Catalan National Assembly), an association supporting the independence of Catalonia. About twenty mayors and elected officials from the Pyrénées-Orientales, including Senator LR François Calvet, expressed in a press release “full and unreserved support for President Puigdemont and MEP”.
A denunciation of the “judicialization of political life”
“We ask that his freedom of movement and expression be respected and guaranteed in the area of the European Union of which he is a fully legitimate representative”, continues the text. The elected officials are astonished by “the relentlessness of the Spanish State against the legitimate elected representatives of the democratic institutions of the European Union” and regret “this judicialization of political life and these repeated attacks on fundamental rights, which seem to become commonplace in this country “.
58-year-old Carles Puigdemont was arrested Thursday evening on his arrival at Alghero airport, a Sardinian city of Catalan culture where he was to participate in a cultural festival and meet with elected officials from the Italian island.