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Now that we have resolved most of the puzzle of the Spanish state's actions to thwart Catalan independence last autumn, we know what a key piece the day of 20th September was, and the protest that day outside the Catalan ministry of the economy in Barcelona. Everything had been carefully prepared: an absolutely disproportionate raid on the Catalan government's most important ministry, and moreover, the one where vice president Oriol Junqueras had his office; the arrest of ten high ranking civil servants from the ministry, some of them very close to the vice president; the concurrent police move to enter the headquarters of the pro-independence CUP party; police deployment at several other departments. Many fronts open, many gatherings of people on the street, many protests. Impossible that at some point acts of violence or attempted aggressions would not take place.

The official discourse was already on the move: tumultuous demonstrations. Not multitudinous. Not massive. Tumultuous: the link that would end up connecting with the concept of rebellion. But as on so many other occasions, nothing happened. The response of tens of thousands of people was to act with great restraint and great public spirit. Nothing in common with the aggression that had been inflicted on the Catalan institutions by Mariano Rajoy's Spanish government, hiding at times behind the Civil Guard and the National Police, and at other times behind the judges. There was no violence, and those whom some desired to accuse of violence behaved, in reality, as authentic men of peace and dialogue. The Jordis, Sànchez and Cuixart, did honour to their biographies and ensured that those long hours went by without any significant incident occurring. But it was already late in the day. The narrative was already taking shape and Judge Carmen Lamela of Spain's National Audience court would end up sending them to prison for sedition just a few weeks afterwards.

This was ground zero: the point at which the Spanish state's great repressive operation to prevent the Catalan referendum got underway. Because of that, going back to that location in Rambla Catalunya one year on, going back to watch the videos of that day, to reread the Whatsapp messages exchanged with the Jordis or with vice president Junqueras during those hours has been like reliving all of the police actions and the massive response from the people who that day showed clearly that they would not fail. That they would make the referendum possible on 1st October. Going back to Rambla Catalunya was, above all, a homage to those who were unable to be there because they are in exile or prison. And the words of Sànchez and Cuixart affirming that they would do it again, the noblest possible defence of the fact that not only do they not deserve punishment but in fact they have had all of their rights trampled on.

Dignity is measured by these things. And in the solitude of the cells that they occupy they know that - paradoxically - they are not alone. And this is what causes most frustration among the people who put them there, people who have faces and names that we all know.