The General Secretary of the Celtic League has written to the Spanish Ambassador in London to complain about the treatment of the Catalan electorate by the Spanish police services. The General Secretary informed the Ambassador (copying the Catalan Minister of Home Affairs into the correspondence) about the resolution that was passed at the Celtic League AGM in July 2017, expressing the wish that the referendum runs smoothly and that Catalan independence is declared in the near future. The full text of the letter is set out below.
The Ambassador of Spain
Carlos Bastarreche Sagūés
Embassy of Spain in London
Use of force against citizens
I have been shocked and dismayed at the way the Spanish authorities have reacted toward the electorate leading up to the referendum vote in Catalunya on 1st October. The behaviour of the Guardia Civil and the National Police in their use of violence against citizens was reminiscent of a bygone era that I thought Spain had left behind. In contrast to this bullish display of excessive force by the police, the electorate, referendum organisers and those who defended the right of voters from being attacked (including members of the fire service), behaved with restraint and bravery.
Regardless of whether the Spanish Constitutional court recognises the right of the Catalan people to self-determination or not, I am sure they do not advocate violence against innocent members of the public who do hold this belief. The ultimate responsibility for the actions of the police – both the Guardia Civil and the National Police – remains with the Spanish government.
Members of our organisation have been following developments within Catalunya with keen interest over the last 12 months and at our AGM in July 2017 the following resolution was unanimously passed:
“This AGM recognises and supports the democratic right of the Catalan people to hold a referendum on independence and hopes the process in October 2017 runs smoothly according to plan, without political interference from the Spanish state. The Celtic League looks forward to the declaration of an independent Catalunya in the near future and the inspiration that nationalists in the Celtic countries will draw from this outcome.”
Moreover one of our members, Iain McDermott, has been in Catalunya since early September to act as an official Celtic League observer. Iain has reported to us that at the polling station he and his wife were given a standing ovation when they made themselves known as international observers to check that the democratic process was carried without hindrance. Iain and his wife were urged to stay as long as possible in case the police attacked. It is startling that today, in a so-called western European democracy, that a simple democratic vote supported by an elected parliament, risks being threatened through the actions of state police.
The Catalan referendum has shown the Spanish government to be incapable of upholding peace and democracy through their endorsement of police attacks on citizens. The result of the vote in Catalunya needs to be respected by the Spanish parliament and government, as no doubt the Catalan authorities would have done if the referendum had produced the opposite outcome.
I would like you to pass on my concerns to the Spanish government and our support for an independent Catalunya.
Joaquim Forn i Chiariello, Minister of Home Affairs, Government of Catalonia, Consejero de Interior, Generalitat de Catalunya, Casa de la Ciudad de Barcelona, Placa de Sant Jaume1, Barcelona 08002, Catalunya