The Catalan independence movement had always prided itself on being peaceful. Indeed, in yesterday's sentences, the judges found the defendants not guilty of the most serious charge of rebellion, because "there is not enough evidence of inarguable episodes of violence to proclaim the events as constituting a crime of rebellion". Tonight, however, saw tensions spill over between police and some protesters, especially in Barcelona.
In response, the Spanish government has issued an emergency statement, denouncing that a "minority is wanting to impose violence in the streets of the Catalan cities". The acting executive also praises the work of all the police forces involved in policing the demonstrations of the last two days, including Catalonia's Mossos d'Esquadra. Prime minister Pedro Sánchez has already cancelled his agenda for Wednesday.
"The Spanish government's objective is and will always be to guarantee security and social harmony in Catalonia", the statement says, "and it will do so if necessary following its commitment to resolve, proportionality and unity". The government paints a picture of a situation that's out of control in Barcelona, where "violent" people have taken over the demonstrations.
They say that violence was seen in "all" the night's protests, and that "violent groups of protesters have attacked the seats of the sub-delegations [of the Spanish government to Catalonia] in Tarragona, Girona and Lleida, and are causing damage and vandalism in other Catalan places." For that reason, they say "we are not faced with a peaceful public movement, but one coordinated by groups that use violence in the streets to break the social harmony of Catalonia."