Over a Million Protesters March in Barcelona to Call for the Release of Catalan Political Prisoners


Josep Goded

On Saturday, over a million Catalans marched in Barcelona to call for the release of the Catalan political prisoners recently imprisoned by Spain. The demonstration was given the name of “National Day for Liberty,” aiming for the same level of attendance and international impact as the yearly celebrations for Catalonia’s September 11th National Day. The demonstration filled more than three kilometers (almost 2 miles) of one of the Catalan capital’s main thoroughfares. Almost a thousand buses loaded with independentists from across the country headed to the protest in Barcelona.

At the front of the demonstration, a banner held by family members of the Catalan political prisoners and the organizers read, “Freedom for political prisoners, we are the Republic.” Attendance exceeded the expectations of the organizers, which delayed the beginning of the protest by an hour. The march lasted for 3 hours before arriving at the intersection with Avenida Icària, where…

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Spain Jails 8 Democratically Elected Members of Catalonia’s Government for Peacefully Defending their Ideas


An update, Catalan President Puigdemont and four members of his government have now handed themselves into the Belgium Police. A judge by tomorrow will decide if the European Arrest Warrants issued by the Spanish courts earlier this week , will be abided by.

Josep Goded

On Thursday, a judge from Spain’s National Court, Carmen Lamela, sent 8 members of the Catalan government to jail for rebellion, sedition, and misuse of public funds without any evidence. As expected, the attorney general had requested their immediate imprisonment without bail and the judge approved.

Carmen Lamela is the same judge who had already sent to prison the civil rights leaders, Cuixart and Sànchez, two weeks ago, for sedition.

In her order, Judge Lamela said that the imprisonment, pending trial of the 8 Catalan leaders was “appropriate, reasonable and proportional.” She based her decision on their flight risk, taking into account the “spending power of the accused which would allow them to abandon the territory”. She also mentioned that other ministers and Catalonia’s President Puigdemont had already abandoned the country to prevent a trial in Spain.

In fact, she describes the government of Catalonia as…

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Spain’s disregard for Catalan press freedom is setting a dangerous precedent : The Conversation


When you put together the efforts of the Spanish authorities to curb media coverage of the Catalan referendum, you have a deeply worrying picture.

Source: Spain’s disregard for Catalan press freedom is setting a dangerous precedent : The Conversation

(BARCELONA, Spain.) Catalonia’s plans to hold a referendum Sunday on breaking away from Spain (all times local): 2:55 p.m. Catalonia’s government spokesman says 337 people have been injured, some seriously, during the police crackdown with only 50% turnout #AceNewsDesk reports


Is this really how we should expect a, to an all intended purpose, civilised democratic country to act to an, on the whole, a peaceful gathering of persons. The governing and legal authorisations did not wish for this referendum to take place, but the elected assembly of Catalonia did.

Who is right and who’s wrong, or are all both right and wrong? Would it have been detrimental to allow this referendum to take place, for with Scotland the UK did allow, a few years ago, for one to take place.

Catalonia, has for some many years been wishing for its independence from Spain and does have some independence as it does have its elected assembly.

Unity creates strength and a break up could have disastrous consequences for all of Spain, even Catalonia, but should not the will of the people not be sought. Now, what will be the resulting outcome of what appears to be a high handed approach from the Spanish authorities. Could this not have the reverse effect and strengthen the independence cause.

Then there is the Basque question, will there be a strong resurrection re their own conflicts about Basque independence, which, in the past has been very violent and terrorist acts have been committed. This could then extend into France who also have their own Basque question of independence.

This is all occurring while the UK Brexit is proceeding, the resurgence of the far right in Germany and who knows where else in Europe.

Could this be the end of European unity, while the disunity within Europe had some bad consequences in the first half of the Twentieth Century.

Could be troubling times within Europe and then there is the Trump effect in America, which in itself could cause major conflicts especially with North Korea.

We say that for the past some 70 years there has been a fair amount of peace, but has there, There was the breakup of Yugoslavia, which created so many conflicts, the Americans and their allies in Vietnam, Israel and the Palestinians, the Middle East with Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, also Afghanistan, Russia and Ukraine, the UK with Ireland and Northern Ireland and more. Well, if that is peace, then what is War.

We may soon find out with Trump and North Korea, or will it be a conflict yet to occur.

Let’s hope and pray that for once again we all, or most of us, come through the storm.

Spain set for secessionist clash as Catalonia’s election looms


Original post from The Guardian 

‘…………..By  in Barcelona

Pro-independence groupings have billed regional election as plebiscite

President of Catalonia’s regional government Artur Mas has said he will declare unilateral independence if the group wins a majority of seats. Photograph: Lluis Gene/AFP/Getty Images
President of Catalonia’s regional government Artur Mas has said he will declare unilateral independence if the group wins a majority of seats. Photograph: Lluis Gene/AFP/Getty Images

Catalans go to the polls at the end of this month to choose a new regional government in what is shaping up to be a showdown between the secessionists and central government in Madrid and between Catalans themselves, who are split on independence.

The majority of pro-independence groupings have come together as Junts pel Sí (United for a Yes Vote), a single-issue coalition that includes Artur Mas, the incumbent Catalan president. The poll has been billed as a plebiscite, and Mas has said he will declare unilateral independence if the group wins a majority of seats, even if it has not obtained a majority of the popular vote.

The first test will be the turnout on Friday, in what has become an annual show of force by the secessionists on Catalan National Day, as tens of thousands will converge on the capital to demand independence. This year the demonstration has been billed as “The Open Road to the Catalan Republic”.

In spite of polls showing waning support for independence, Raül Romeva i Rueda, the ex-communist who leads Junts pel Sí, says a unilateral declaration of independence is justified because “they [Spain] have beaten us with unjust laws and huge fines”. The Madrid government has refused to enter into a dialogue on independence and has adopted a hardline stance throughout. Its reaction to Junts pel Sí has been to rush through an amendment to the constitution so that any politician who declares independence can be imprisoned.

Mas says there is no option but to treat the election as a plebiscite, as central government has refused to allow a referendum. He says that if Junts pel Sí wins the Catalan elections on 27 September and goes on to win in Catalonia at the general election expected on 20 December, “that will serve as a second plebiscite that will send an extraordinary message to Europe and the rest of the world”.

This has been a year of shockwaves that have rattled Spain’s political establishment. The first came in May, when a series of leftist popular fronts swept to power in Madrid, Barcelona and other major Spanish cities. Hit by a series of corruption scandals, the established conservative and socialist parties have been losing ground to new forces: Ciudadanos on the centre-right and Podemos on the left. This is also true in Catalonia, except that the picture is coloured by the national question, which has further marginalised the established parties.

Polls show Catalans fairly evenly divided on the independence issue, with a small majority against. More significantly, there is little enthusiasm for secession in their capital, Barcelona, which in May voted in a leftwing mayor who’d stood on a platform of social issues rather than sovereignty. Few people believe it is a coincidence that Mas called the elections on what is a holiday weekend in Barcelona in the hope that many voters will be out of town. A low turnout in the capital would favour the secessionists.

Junts pel Sí are opposed by another popular front, Catalunya Sí que es Pot (Catalonia Yes We Can), made up of Podemos, the Greens and other leftists who are standing on social issues such as health and housing and are agnostic on independence. The other key runner is Ciutadans, the Catalan version of Ciudadanos, which is expected to pick up a lot of votes from those who recoil from the idea of independence. “Unilaterally declaring independence with or without a majority of seats is anti-democratic and amounts to a coup d’état,” says Ciutadans candidate Susana Beltrán.In propaganda terms Junts pel Sí, which is essentially the Catalan government plus a few allies, has the upper hand. It can count on a docile, heavily subsidised media to get its message across. Neither Ciutadans nor Catalunya Sí que es Pot can expect even a fraction of that exposure.

By presenting the poll as a referendum on independence the secessionists are also taking a risk. It may well incite people in the so-called “red beltway” of Barcelona, a string of overspill towns dominated by socialist voters of Spanish descent who are generally hostile to independence, to vote in greater numbers than they usually do in regional elections. On the other hand, Madrid’s intransigence continues to drive many moderates into the independence camp.  …………………..’

Disability Sports


Reblogged from Beyond Disability

‘………..


Football for the blind and partially sighted started out as a playground game for school children in special schools for the visually impaired. It has now become one of the most popular sports for people with a visual impairment worldwide.

The game was taken up in several countries, each playing according to its local customs (different balls and pitches were used, rules varied from country to country, etc.). Many countries, such as Spain and Brazil, set up national championships, and soon countries began to organise the first friendly international matches.

Blind football – or futsal, as it is also known – joined the IBSA fold in 1996 when the decision was taken to set up a futsal subcommittee. The first task of the committee was to set up internationally recognised and approved rules.
Disability
Disability Scholarship
With an agreed set of rules, the first IBSA European Championships were held in 1997 in Barcelona, Spain, and the first American Championships took place in Asunción in Paraguay.

Since then official IBSA regional and world championships have been held regularly and international friendly tournaments such as the IBSA Cup are a regular feature on the blind futsal calendar.

IBSA has two types of football – B1 for footballers who are completely blind, and B2/B3 for players who are partially sighted.

B1 football has become one of the biggest sports on the Paralympic Games programme following its debut at the Athens 2004 games. This was recognised at the recent London 2012 Paralympic Games when the number of teams taking part rose from six to eight. Brazil won the Paralympic tournament and the gold medal for the third time running, defeating France 2-0 in the final.

Blind football enjoys support from UEFA for its development activities in Europe.

IBSA Sports