By characterising the protest staged in Barcelona on 20 September 2017 as an uprising, Spanish politics paved the way for the charges of rebellion and sedition brought against the Catalan independence leaders, even though the violent rioting that might have provided a theoretical justification for them was nowhere to be found.
Now, with the verdict on the case just around the corner, the is aim is to keep fuelling a narrative that will legitimise —before the eyes of Spain’s public opinion and the international community— the conviction of the leaders of a movement that challenged the State by peaceful means alone.
On Monday Spain’s Guardia Civil painted a sorry picture in Catalonia, staging a high-profile operation where 500 officers arrested nine people in an attempt to prove that they are members of a “Catalan secessionist terror group” with a violent intent. You can’t help but wonder how they could fail to thwart the plans of the jihadist terror cell that struck in Catalonia on 17 August 2017 or seize any of the ballot boxes that travelled across the nation ahead of the independence vote on 1 October that same year.
While nine people were being arrested (two of them have been released since), the president of Spain’s Supreme Court, Carlos Lesmes, said he hoped that the response to the upcoming verdict “won’t be excessive” and the Spanish Interior Minister wouldn’t rule out sending more Spanish police to Catalonia.
By land, sea and air —and aided by Madrid’s sympathetic media—, they are promoting the notion that Catalonia’s pro-independence movement has a violent streak so they can justify any future abuse of authority. Spain: the machine that churns out separatists.