More than 700 local mayors in Catalonia have given their support to the upcoming independence referendum and said that they will offer their citizens places to vote. Today, the Public Prosecutor's Office called on all of them to appear to give testimony and ordered the Mossos d'Esquadra (Catalan police) to arrest those who don't turn up. Unsurprisingly, this has prompted a flood of replies from the mayors.
The mayor of Solsona, a small town to the north-west of Barcelona, David Rodríguez (ERC - Catalan Republic Left), for example, gave a statement to the ACN (Catalan News Agency) proposing that the 712 mayors under investigation decide on a "joint reaction" because, according to him, this would give them "more strength". Despite still not having received the summons, Rodríguez made it clear that "if they want to scare us, they should know we're not" and said that nobody would move them "even a millimetre in our wish to exercise democracy".
Similar comments came from the mayor of Molins de Rei, just outside Barcelona, Joan Ramón Casals (PDeCAT - Catalan European Democratic Party), who said that "on 1st October we're going to enable the people to give their opinion because it's a right and they can decide". The mayor also said, in a statement to Spanish TV station Cuatro, that, if he's summoned to give testimony, he'll go "to explain without fear what we're defending".
For her part, the mayor of Berga, near Solsona, Montse Venturós (CUP - Popular Unity Candidacy) said that "the right to self-determination is completely democratically legitimate and we're not doing anything illegal". In addition, speaking to ACN, she said that the mayors have to stand with "the historic moment" Catalonia is going through and, as such, she believes it to be important that "we avoid and ignore any intervention the [Spanish] state might make". She also confirmed that she won't go to testify, which has been announced as the collective response of the CUP mayors.
Joan Rabasseda (ERC), mayor of Arenys de Munt, up the coast from Barcelona, also said that the local councils will maintain their "full support" for the Catalan government and Parliament and won't change their course "even a millimetre" from the challenge of constructing a new republic. Despite everything, Rabasseda told ACN that he doesn't find any humour in being summoned to testify, but didn't clarify if he will attend or not. "We can't understand that such things happen in a democratic state," he said.
These, however, are not the only mayors to have commented on the summons. Many others have taken to Twitter to give their reactions.
The mayor of Badalona, Catalonia's third biggest city, Dolors Sabater (Guanyem Badalona en Comú - Let's win Badalona in Common), for example, says (below) "I'm not aware of having committed any crime. I want all Badalona to be able to vote Yes/No. Leave the local councils in peace!"
The mayor of Premià de Mar and president of AMC (Association of Catalan Municipalities), Miquel Buch (PDeCAT), said "Today I'm more convinced than ever of the Decree I made to support the Referendum. Because voting ISN'T A CRIME!!!"
Avui més que mai convençut del Decret que vaig fer per donar suport al Referèndum.— Miquel Buch (@MiquelBuch) 13 de setembre de 2017
Perquè votar NO ÉS DELICTE!!!
Albert Batalla (PDeCAT), mayor of Seu d'Urgell, wrote "Voting can't ever be a crime, but a citizens' right that needs to be guaranteed."
From Prats de Lluçanès, Isaac Peraire (ERC), tweeted an image of all the municipalities whose members have backed the vote with the comment "As mayor I have an obligation to the town, not to them. What an embarrassment it is to read this news, and how little work they have".
From Albert Batet (PDeCAT), mayor of Valls, came the comment "Arresting 742[sic] mayors? They've gone mad! Where are the democratic guarantees of the state of law?"
Detenir 742 alcaldes????— Albert Batet (@albertbatet) 13 de setembre de 2017
On són les garanties democràtiques de l'estat de dret???? https://t.co/PIXv4B8WQT
For his part, the mayor of Argentona, Eudald Calvo (CUP), said "I have a lot of work and I don't have time for such nonsense. Whoever wants to speak with me already knows where to find me" suggesting he will go along with his party's refusal to answer the summons. He then added a hashtag reading "hello dictatorship".
The mayor of La Granja d'Escarp, Manel Solé (PDeCAT), said "Thankful for all the shows of support I'm receiving. I'm just another resident, who will do everything possible so that my fellow citizens can vote".
Agraït x totes les mostres de suport que estic rebent.— Manel Solé (@ManelSoleA) 13 de setembre de 2017
Només soc un veí més, que faré tot el possible pq els meus conciutadans puguin #votar
Rosa Vestit (PDeCAT) tweeted "Have I understood correctly? Anti-terror warning [level] 4 and they're threating me that they'll send the Mossos to Sant Quirze de Besora?"
Also, from Vilamaniscla, Mon Bonaterra, wrote "As always I'm at the disposition of the residents [of Vilamaniscla] to explain why they're investigating me, that's if anyone isn't sure..."