Yellow ribbons have been draped across the Scottish city of Glasgow in support of Catalunya regional politicians who remain in custody, or in exile, for their role in staging the disputed independence referendum a year ago.
Glasgow’s Catalán Defence Committee (CDC) tied yellow loops to three main bridges – the Albert, the Squinty and the Charing Cross – as well as on the Lobey Dosser statue’s horse on Woodlands Road and the Duke of Wellington statue.
A yellow scarf had been wrapped around the Citizen Firefighter as a nod to Catalunya’s fire brigade.
The CDC recalls that Scotland had been given the right to self-determination and permitted to vote on independence – which a slim majority rejected – yet those who staged a referendum in Catalunya ended up either in jail or having to flee the country to avoid arrest.
Scotland has long been supportive of Catalunya’s prisoners and exiles because of its own history of a separatist movement, and authorities and members of the public overwhelmingly supported the region’s ex-education minister, Clara Ponsatí, when she settled in Edinburgh to avoid arrest.
Catalunya’s jailed politicians are facing a critical moment as the prosecution has called for 25 years in jail for each of them, and the main pro-secession parties have threatened to withdraw their support for national president Pedro Sánchez unless he intervenes, meaning he may be unable to sign off the 2019 budget.
Left-wing Podemos’ leader Pablo Iglesias is attempting to persuade the Catalunya parties to back the budget ‘for the sake of the people of Spain’, but he has spoken out against the excessive severity of the prisoners’ possible sentences.
Iglesias says it would make no sense that the five gang-rapists who attacked an 18-year-old woman at Pamplona’s Sanfermines fiesta in 2016 – known as La Manada, or ‘The Herd’ – should be sent down for just nine years whilst politicians would face nearly three times that merely for allowing the public to vote on independence – a lesser offence, says Iglesias, than a gang-rape, even taking into account that the referendum’s being held went against the Spanish Constitution.