Girona University sit-in

Spanish National Police have been unable to detain 17th person in their investigation of the blocking of the high-speed railway on 1 October, 2018, who has taken refuge in the University of Girona

*La Caputxinada sit-in protest has entered its fourth day

Last Wednesday, in a show of force, the Spanish National police detained 16 people in Catalonia for public order offences allegedly committed during the blocking of the high-speed railway line in Girona on l October, 2017, the anniversary of the violent repression of the Catalan referendum. All those detained had been released by the end of the day.

Ignasi Sabater, the mayor of Verges, leaving the police station where he was taken after his arrest – Efe

Among those arrested were the mayors of Verges and Celrà, an on-duty photojournalist and 14 activists from the CDRs, La Forja and students’ union, SEPC. President Quim Torra’s nephew was one of those detained. A lawsuit has been presented against the police by the Catalan government alleging procedural irregularities in the police operation and suggesting that the arrests were illegal.

However, police were unable to locate their seventeenth target, who has taken sanctuary in the University of Girona (UdG). She has now spent four nights on the campus accompanied by fellow students.

On Friday night, reporters, observers and fellow students were attended by her lawyer, Montserrat Vinyets, and two spokespersons for the protest. The sit-in has now moved to the Faculty of Arts and Tourism.

During the addresses, there was criticism of the the Generalitat and a call for the more support from “Catalan republican institutions”. The sit-in has since received visits from some of the detainees and leaders of the civil organisations Assemblea Nacional Catalana, Òmnium Cultural, and the Association of Municipalities for Independence.

More than 600 people, including ERC (Republican Left of Catalonia) members of Congress, Joan Tardà and Gabriel Rufián, and the CUP (Popular Unity Candidacy) spokesperson, Benet Salellas, have signed a petition in support of the campaign demanding that rail admininistrator, ADIF, withdraw its complaint against the demonstrators. The Rector of Girona University, Quim Salvi, has also given his support. There have been many messages from public figures unable to attend, including the Catalan president in exile, Carles Puigdemont.

“Most grateful for the message of support from Carles Puigdemont, direct from exile”

A decision on the course of the protest will be taken tomorrow, but the threatening message to pro-independence activists from the Spanish National Police is clear.

Hundreds of politicians, officials and activists have been arrested in Catalonia since the unauthorised referendum held on 1 October, 2017.

Additional reporting by Tina Melger.

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*La Caputxinada refers to the seige of the convent of the Sarrià Capuchins during the foundation of the Democratic Students’ Union of Barcelona University, the SDEUB, in 1966, provoked by police trying to break up, then identify the 450 students, professors and intellectuals involved. The seige lasted 48 hours until the police forced the main door and removed the protestors.

La Caputxinada – Guillem Martínez

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