This poll had the support of three quarters of the population of Catalonia, who for the third year running had taken to the streets for the Diada (Catalonia’s national day, on September 11) in demonstrations of over a million people calling for independence. The poll enjoyed the support of 920 local authorities out of a total of 947 as well, – 96% of Catalan cities, towns and villages.
The catalan people pro-referendum and the ANC wanted to vote on November 9 with democratic guarantees, understanding the guiding principle that independence needs to be achieved via peaceful and democratic means. To achieve this, steps were taken in the Catalan parliament to agree the date and question, and the Spanish parliament was also asked to provide a legal margin to transfer powers to Catalonia so that a referendum could be called.
In the face of the Spanish Parliament’s systematically negative attitude, all the necessary changes were made so that the popular consultation could go ahead, in line with existing legislation was passed by the Catalan Parliament on non-binding consultations, which was in its torn challenged in the courts.
Two days after September 2015 Catalan parliamentary elections (regarded as a “plebiscite” by the pro independence parties), several criminal charges were filed in the Catalan High Court against the non-binding 9 November 2014 referendum and proceedings were opened against the then-president Artur Mas, education minister Irene Rigau and vice-president Joana Ortega.
Artur Mas was called to give evidence on the 75th anniversary of the execution of Catalan president Lluís Companys by a firing squad, which took place on October 15th, 1940 at Montjuïc castle. Companys is the only incumbent, democratically elected European president to have been executed. To this day, the court martials held during Francisco Franco’s dictatorship remain in force.
Once again, the court’s decision has been announced two days after an election. Today, the judge has ruled not to close the case against the accused who, even though they were fulfilling a legal and popular mandate, must now stand in the dock.
Once again, the ANC, Òmnium and the AMI call for
Strength and unity to fulfil the democratic mandate for independence in the face of the criminalization of the 9N poll.
The Catalan Assembly, Òmnium Cultural and the Association of Municipalities for Independence reject the decision of Catalonia’s High Court of Justice not to close the criminal case opened against 2014’s 9N self-determination poll. The decision leaves former president Artur Mas and former ministers Joana Ortega and Irene Rigau one step from being criminally indicted.
The pro-independence NGOs consider that judge Joan Manel Abril’s decision, which once again coincides with the end of an election campaign, clearly demonstrates Spain’s lack of an independent judiciary, and proves that “there is nothing we can do with a State that sends democracy and ballot boxes to the dock”. With this in mind, the three organizations call on all democrats to be “steadfast and firm” and demand that “the democratic mandate for independence be fulfilled”, as the only way to combat this latest attempt at “criminalizing Catalan politics”.
The ANC, Òmnium and the AMI express their full support for Artur Mas, Joana Ortega and Irene Rigau, and reiterate that they consider themselves to be jointly responsible for calling the 9N poll, which was based on democratic and civic values, and which received a huge response from the Catalan people.