For days now, Catalan independence groups have been working on the question of the response at street level to the start of the independence referendum trial. Although the exact date of the start of the hugely transcendental trial is not yet known, it is expected in late January, and civil group Catalan National Assembly (ANC) is already planning the different scenarios for demonstrations. Larger Catalan cities and leading European capitals will play an important role in these mobilizations and, according to the ANC, it is likely that they will be the scenarios for rallies on the day that the trial starts - although this will depend on organizational issues in each country. The epicentre, however, as El Nacional has confirmed, will be in the same location as the trial itself: Madrid.
The demonstration in the Spanish capital is not planned for the same day as the rest, but rather two or three weeks after the start of the court case. ANC sources explain that this is to give time to organize the protest well and apply for all the necessary permits. Moreover, the Madrid rally will be held on a weekend and the Assembly, working together with the other major pro-independence group Òmnium Cultural, expects that this will probably be the largest mobilization. They envisage that local branches of the pro-independence groups will organise coaches or charters to simplify travel.
With regard to the protests at the beginning of the trial, it is expected that protests will be organized in Barcelona, Tarragona, Lleida, Girona, Vic, Manresa and Terres de l'Ebre; although it's foreseeable that the territorial groups of the ANC will organize further actions in other towns. As for Europe, the possible scenarios would be Brussels, Paris, London or Berlin. For these international cities, the ANC's intention is to rally the public on the day the trial begins - or, if this has to be modified by administrative issues in some countries, spread over the first week.
For the moment, however, details of the precise times and locations of the mobilizations are not known, subject to the setting of the day for the start of the case, which is expected to then last for two or three months. It is also possible that further demonstrations in Barcelona or other locations in Catalonia will be organized during the trial process, although nothing is yet defined; organizational decisions will depend on the progress of events in the Supreme Court.
Left-wing pro-independence party the CUP already announced, several weeks ago, that it would hold mobilizations from the very first day of the trial, and the party called for actions to paralyse the country, through "public mobilization and disobedience", although no further details are known - and nor is it known if these actions will be coordinated with those being prepared by the ANC.
The trial in Spain's Supreme Court will see twelve Catalan political and civil leaders of the independence movement facing charges arising from the 1st October 2017 referendum and the broader political process around it. They are charged with rebellion, misuse of funds and disobedience, and prison sentences of up to 25 years have been demanded by the public prosecutor. Nine of the twelve have been held in pretrial prison for up to 14 months.