EUROPE IN REVOLT – Catalans March Demanding Freedom For ‘Political Prisoners’
Hundreds of thousands of Catalans took to the streets yesterday to demand freedom for Catalan politicians arrested for their role in supporting the Catalan governments’ declaration of independence on October 27th and alleged sedition and rebellion.
Meanwhile, Carles Puigdemont, the exiled Catalonian President, lashed out at Spain over its use of a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) to try and bring him back from Brussels. Mr Puigdemont said:
“To be treated like a criminal, like a drug trafficker, like a pedophile, like a serial killer, I think this is abuse.
This isn’t politics, this is using the courts to do politics. The Spanish state has damaged democracy.”
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The protest on the streets of Barcelona is part of a much broader demonstration of people across Europe looking to assert their right to freedom.
In Italy, the populist, anti-EU, 5* Movement has strengthened its poll lead of former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s Democratic Party. Mr Renzi’s Democratic Party stands at 24.3 percent, having lost six percentage points in six months.
Doubtlessly inspired by the struggle of the Catalans, Italy’s two wealthiest regions have voted overwhelmingly in favour of greater autonomy from Rome.
More than 90 % of voters in the northern regions of Veneto and Lombardy, which account for about a third of Italy’s gross domestic product, backed referendums that promised more autonomy and the chance to keep a bigger percentage of their tax revenues.
As Lorenzo Codogno, an economist at LC Macro Advisors and a former economist at the Italian Treasury pointed out:
“Following the populist wave, now Europe has to face a nationalist and regionalist wave, which . . . makes European integration even more difficult.”
So, while these revolts maybe locally directed at the Spanish and Italian state, they represent a deep undercurrent of discontent with the miserable crumbling edifice of the ailing EU project. We can take great heart from these movements linked inextricably as they are to our struggle to ensure the will of the people is done and that our government delivers on Brexit.