Hundreds of thousands of Catalans took to the streets of Barcelona this Sunday to ask for the release of the nine Catalan political prisoners, in pretrial detention without bail spread around three different prisons of the community of Madrid (Estremera, Soto del Real and Alcalá Meco) by decision of Supreme Court judge Pablo Llarena. Also in support of the Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, the four exiled ministers and Marta Rovira. Over the six, spread around four different states, hang extradition orders from the Spanish courts. Beyond the final number of attendees -some 750,000 according to the organisers and 350,000 according to Barcelona police- the march was enormous, an adjective used, among others, by French newspaper Libération, and very large for media like Al Jazeera, the main news channel of the Arabic world, which even placed the rally on Paral·lel avenue, mainly but not only of independence supporters, in second place in its international news bulletin, just after the missile attack on Syria.
The independence movement showed muscle there where it is most unified, in the streets. And left without arguments those who tirelessly preach the existing despondency in the pro-independence majority in the Catalan Parliament, which has an absolute majority in the chamber. It's not the first time, nor will it be the last: just like judge Pablo Llarena has constructed a narrative which has little to do with reality when he talks about a coup d'état, rebellion, sedition or violence, the supporters of article 155 line up under an argument which tends to stand up badly to the contrast with reality and which comes down to the same old story of the independence movement's dejection. At times, like this Sunday, all this false reasoning needs little to dissolve like a sugar cube. In this case all it needed was the first warmth of spring.
The whole world has again seen that Catalan irritation remains alive, as does the Catalan way of dealing with the conflict with the state, based on civility, democracy and patience. Well clearly there's a Catalan gene to deal with the situation in the face of a state which has a monopoly on violence and to show that the yellow tide still exists despite the repression of a state which refuses dialogue and is buried in a losing battle: to emphasise the non-existent violence in Catalan streets. The hundreds of thousands of Catalans who have demonstrated in the streets of Barcelona are heirs to the 1st October referendum, the greatest triumph achieved by the Catalan movement in the modern era. The greatest defeat of a European state and, doubtlessly, of the Spanish state in decades.
From this Monday, judge Llarena will inform the nine Catalan political prisoners he is keeping in pretrial detentions of their prosecution over charges which for many of them are as serious and non-existent as the crime of rebellion. It's the same accusation already dismissed by the German justice system with Puigdemont and which, certainly, the United Kingdom, Belgium and Switzerland will end up dismissing too. Enough countries, important countries for the Supreme Court to correct its accusation. But, sadly, nothing like that will happen. Even at the risk of a Spanish defeat in the eyes of the whole world. Hubris is like that.