SNP youth international officer: EU’s “hands are covered in blood” after Catalan verdict

Ben Wray

European Free Alliance President indicates Scots could use extra-parliamentary action to halt the extradition of Clara Ponsati

  • International officer of Young Scots for Independence slams European Union for failing to condemn Spanish state’s crackdown
  • EFA President says Scots can use “the streets” to prevent any attempt to extradite Clara Ponsati
  • Tens of thousands of Catalans take direct action in protests and sentencing, causing major disruption

A LEADING member of the SNP’s youth group has told the party’s conference in Aberdeen that the European Union has “hands covered in blood” after its failure to condemn or act against Spain over its repression of Catalan democracy.

Valentina Servera Clavell, international officer for Young Scots for Independence (YSI), received a standing ovation today [15 October] after an emotional address to a rally of the European Free Alliance EU parliamentary group at the SNP conference fringe.

The Spanish state, one of the larger and more influential members of the EU, has provoked international protests after Spanish courts sentenced nine leading Catalan civic and political leaders to prison terms of between nine and thirteen years for their role in organising the 2017 Catalan independence referendum.

Clavell – who is also a member of the youth movement of the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) party, whose leader Oriel Junqueras was sentenced to 13 years – told the meeting: “The European Union’s hands are covered in blood.”

“When you don’t condemn the crime, you are part of the crime,” she added.

“The people are there. If things get rough, you will be there. The streets are ours. The people will find ways.” European Free Alliance President Lorena Lopez

After the sentencing yesterday, the EU Commission submitted a statement saying it considered the crackdown “an internal matter for Spain”.

Echoing her address to the SNP conference the previous day in support of an emergency resolution condemning the verdict and offering solidarity with Catalonia, Clavell expressed her “pain” at attacks on democracy in her homeland, saying: “Franco never died, Franco still rules Spain.” She said the Spanish state was “living on the lie that they are a democracy”, and that the government of Pedro Sánchez “promised so much and delivered nothing”.

She added: “Its scary, my friends are being brought before judges.”

Clavell had a further warning for SNP delegates about the precedent being set by the crackdown.

“It’s bad new for Scottish independence if they can get away with this”, she said.

Read more: ‘The fight is not over’: SNP conference stands in solidarity with jailed Catalan leaders as Clara Ponsati prepares to fight new extradition attempt

Massive protests have erupted across Catalonia in the wake of the sentencing; Barcelona airport was shut down by tens of thousands of protestors, while demonstrations were attacked by Spanish police, with reports of severe injuries.

Outside of the Northern city of Girona, major roads were closed down as thousands of people constructed roadblocks.

Spanish police say they are investigating protest organisers.

Addressing the SNP fringe meeting, European Free Alliance President Lorena Lopez indicated that Scots could use extra-parliamentary action to halt any future attempt to extradite former Catalan education minister and St Andrews academic Clara Ponsati, who has previously been threatened with extradition to Spain.

Analysis: European elections confirm resilience of Catalan independence

Lopez said: “The people are there. If things get rough, you will be there. The streets are ours. The people will find ways.”

She also said that she could not go in to more detail about the methods that could be deployed to protect Ponsati, saying: “In the circumstances we are in now, we cannot say all things, because then they will know. But there are things we can do.”

Alyn Smith MEP cautioned against blaming the EU.

He said: “To blame the EU for the actions of a member state is to miss the target.”

Read more: Turkey, Spain and Britain: The radicalisation of hegemonic nationalisms

Smith added that though he disagreed in some ways with the EU’s response, “the EU is bigger than this issue, it is international solidarity in action.”

Smith went to say that, although he believed that previous Spanish warrants for exiled Catalan politicians had “abused” the European warrant system, he had faith in the Scottish courts to deal with threats of extradition.

He said: “We have a wonderful, impartial judicial system. We will trust in the good offices of the Scots judicial services.”

Answering a question from CommonSpace about whether the EFA group might consider using disruptive tactics in the EU parliament, Smith said that MEPs would be engaging in supportive work in solidarity with Catalonia, but this would all be pursued in a “proper” manner.

Read more: ‘The votes of all of the people must be equal’: SNP MEPs join thousands at Strasbourg rally in support of absent Catalan MEPs

The meeting also watched a broadcast from Catalonia, with a message from former ERC MEP Professor Josep-Maria Terricabras, who celebrated the mass resistance movement.

“The citizen’s reaction was incredible, firm and courageous,” Terricabras said.

Plaid Cymru AM Delyth Jewell told the meeting that while she believed in the “values” of the EU, she thought it needed to be reformed into a “Europe of the peoples” rather than a union of state members.

Picture: CommonSpace

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