The Catalan political prisoners may have said "they'll do it again", but at present, those who are indeed doing it again are the Spanish right. Former leader of Spanish nationalist party UPyD, Rosa Díez, is behind a platform which is to rally against the proposed pardons to the pro-independence leaders, on June 13th in Madrid's Plaza de Colón. Without specifying the detail, Spain's right-wing opposition party the PP have now said they will be present - alongside far-right Vox, who had already declared their intention. Not only that, but PP leader Pablo Casado has announced the revival of another classic from the past: the collection of signatures against the pardons throughout Spain. Former PP leader Rajoy notoriously did the same thing in the 2000s with a petition against the Catalan Statute of Autonomy - helping to scuttle Catalonia's last major attempt to shape its future within the Spanish state. This time, it is Casado, and Spaniards will be asked to sign to keep the pro-independence leaders in jail.
Shortly after Vox leader Santiago Abascal declared that his party will join the June 13th rally, the Popular Party also hopped on board the Unión 78 platform set up by Rosa Díez, María San Gil and Fernando Savater - the PP once again echoing a move already made by the far right. For the last few days, the PP have done no more than plan a battle from the institutions, but without mobilizations. It was Abascal's announcement that he would personally go to Colón which prompted his team to take the step as well. It remains to be seen whether Pablo Casado himself will be present or whether a second "Colón photo" will be avoided. Madrid president Isabel Díaz Ayuso shared Rosa Díez's announcement of the rally on Twitter.
Meanwhile, from Soria, Casado himself has announced his institutional campaign against the pardons. In addition to motions that will be presented in 8,000 municipalities throughout Spain against the proposed clemency to the Catalan prisoners, the PP head has also revealed that his party will collect signatures against the pardon measure. “If the Supreme Court has said that those who have tried to destroy social co-existence, concord and the Constitution cannot be pardoned, politicians should respect it,” the conservative leader argued.
Thus, the PP and Vox will be present, once again, in the Plaza de Colón. It remains to be seen what Ciudadanos does, after Inés Arrimadas's strategy to try to differentiate Cs' position from where it stood in early 2019, allied with the hard-right bloc.
Revolt led by Díez
Rosa Díez was forced to leave politics after her failure with the UPyD party, a political party declared wound up by a judge. Having lost her seat as a member of Congress, she created what she calls an "independent civic platform": Unión 78, named after the year of the Spanish Constitution. On Twitter, the platform has done no more than recommend following other profiles, the last one being Díez's own account on April 14th. Now, the former UPyD leader seeks to relaunch her role by leading a demonstration in Plaza Colón in Madrid against the pardons for pro-independence political prisoners.
In a statement issued this morning, Díez gave the reasons: "We are calling on the public to rally against the granting of pardons for those convicted of sedition in Catalonia and in support of the judiciary attacked by the Sánchez government, and in defence of equality for all Spaniards, without exception".