Huge success of the demonstration against the new crime of aggravated public disorder

The mobilisation organised by the Catalan National Assembly against the new crime of aggravated public disorder exceeded all expectations and confirmed the anti-repressive clamour of a united Catalan pro-independence civil society.

More than 10,000 people attended the demonstration organised yesterday by the Catalan National Assembly against the new crime of aggravated public disorder. It was a huge success on a very particular date, the anniversary of the Spanish Constitution, an occasion that marked the imposition of a foreign constitution, and now also the threat of aggravated repression against grassroots movements, especially against the peaceful Catalan pro-independence movement.

The suggested modification of the Spanish Penal Code, proposed by the Spanish government and supported by the Catalan governing party, Esquerra Republicana, eliminates the crime of sedition but includes a new crime of ‘aggravated public disorder’ that increases the minimum penalties for public disorder to three years and is an attempt to facilitate the extradition of exiled Catalan representatives.

The reform also facilitates jail sentences, incorporates intimidation, provocation, conspiracy and proposal as causes of crime and disqualification sentences for workers and public officials. For all of these reasons, several juridical and human rights organisations, such as Amnesty International, have shown their concern.

Yesterday’s march took place in the centre of Barcelona and finished in Sant Jaume square, in front of the Palace of the Generalitat, which houses the presidency of Catalonia’s government. There, thousands of people surrounded the stage, from where the organisers of the mobilisation called on the Catalan government to stop making pacts with a state that only increases repression against the pro-independence movement.

The president of the Assembly, Dolors Feliu, denounced that “they sold us a false dialogue, they sold us that the crime of sedition had been repealed, but the small print was just another move by the Spanish government towards repression“. Feliu condemned  “every word of this article is designed to penalise the pro-independence movement” and added that “now we scare them more than ever, which means that we are closer to independence than ever”.

More than sixty organisations have supported the call and signed the manifest, and the territorial assemblies of the organisation  also mobilised 27 coaches from various parts of Catalonia. Now, the Catalan National Assembly calls on the government not to agree to any new repressive crime against the pro-independence movement and demands the repeal of the crime of sedition without a repressive counterpart.

No pact with Spain to imprison us. Independence now!