Hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets of Catalonia today to denounce the violence from the Spanish state's security forces during the voting day on Sunday. From atop a car in Barcelona's plaça Universitat, the actor Alex Casanovas read a manifesto from the Taula per la Democràcia (Board for Democracy) which called for "the withdrawal of the state's police forces". The call was repeated around Catalonia in large-scale demonstrations which have overflowed the streets.
The text from Taula per la Democràcia, which is formed by dozens of associations, celebrates that today Catalonia "has stopped" and says that "the public has rejected the violence exercised by the state's security forces during the 1st October referendum". It also denounces the violation of fundamental rights and democratic liberties.
"The police actions to violently remove the thousands of people who had grouped in the centres around Catalonia, and to confiscate the materials for the vote, are absolutely inadmissible and are a violation of civil and political rights. From the coexistence of Catalan society, 900 people injured," he added.
In front of the vehicle the manifesto was read from was a group including the vice-president Oriol Junqueras, Barcelona's mayor, Ada Colau, the leaders of pro-independence organisations Òmnium and ANC, Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sànchez, the leaders of the unions UGT and CCOO, Camil Ros and Javier Pacheco, the ministers Toni Comín, Santi Vila and Dolors Bassa and deputies from the Spanish Congress Gabriel Rufián and Xavier Domènech, among others.
Violation of fundamental rights
The text read denounces "the violation of fundamental rights and democratic liberties that are being carried out by the government and the bodies of the state" and calls for the defence of the democratic framework whose base is "dialogue and not force, politics and not authoritarianism, respect and not intolerance".
"Unity is the best defence of democracy", says the text which calls on all political parties to do whatever necessary to defend the fundamental rights and liberties of the public. "We won't tolerate any more aggression," they warn.
The gathering in plaça Universitat in Barcelona stretched hundreds of metres up to Passeig de Gràcia, ending up meeting another gathering called by the union CGT in the Jardinets de Gràcia. After the reading of the manifesto and the list of associations that have supported the Taula per la Democràcia, the crowd sang two of the songs that have been heard time and again over recent days in Catalonia. L'Estaca is a song about freedom from famous Catalan singer Lluís Llach and Els Segadors is the Catalan anthem. Some of the protesters then headed to Via Laietana, to protest again in front of the Spanish National Police headquarters there.
The spokesperson of Universitats per la República (Universities for the Republic), who read part of the manifesto, announced that students were calling a camp out at the crossroads of passeig de Gràcia with Gran Via de les Corts.
The large-scale gatherings were seen in towns and cities all over Catalonia where the turnout has overflowed the streets. The demonstrations, peaceful and festive, have taken place without any incidents being recorded.