Thousands of people congregated outside town halls all across Catalonia this Monday evening to protest against the Supreme Court verdicts convicting nine pro-independence leaders to long jail terms. Well before the appointed hour of 8.00pm, the accesses to Barcelona's Plaça Sant Jaume were already as tight as a drum.
The large crowd sang Catalonia's anthem Els Segadors and chanted emphatically for the release of the political prisoners.
Among those who gathered in Barcelona were the Catalan president and vice president, Quim Torra and Pere Aragonès, the speaker of the Catalan Parliament, Roger Torrent and government ministers such as Damià Calvet, Josep Bargalló and Àngels Chacón. Also present were the president of the PDeCAT party, David Bonvehí, and the former deputy in Madrid, Ferran Bel. The ERC party's Barcelona city councillors Ernest Maragall and Elisenda Alamany were also there.
A manifesto rejecting the Supreme Court verdicts and in favour of the right to self-determination was collectively read by those present. "Neither threats nor repression will make our desire for freedom disappear," read the text. "Everyone knows that nonviolence and pacifism have always been the emblem of this movement. The court sentences are an attempt to send a message of fear. But we must say very loudly that we are not afraid," the speakers asserted.
"We need a political and institutional response that is equal to the occasion. We need to be more united than ever before, to show that we have been and will be a peaceful society," they demanded.
In Girona, hundreds of protesters concentrated in the October 1st square to show their rejection of the court verdicts.
In Lleida a massive pro-independence estelada flag was unfurled on the facade of the Paeria, the city hall building, along with a banner that 'Our verdict: independence'.
In Tarragona, hundreds of people also assembled, showing their rejection of the Madrid court's ruling.
In cities such as Sabadell, Terrassa, Manresa and Vic, squares also filled quickly in response to the verdicts.
Sabadell! pic.twitter.com/jGjMAzCtV4— Bixen (@EmapeVicent) October 14, 2019
In Vic, a convoy of tractors also joined the massive protest called to reject the Supreme Court's ruling to send the nine political prisoners to jail for long terms.