Possible Unrest in Catalonia Amidst Amnesty Controversy

Political Tensions in Catalonia: Amnesty Decisions Spark Criticism

Intelligence cut off: 13:00 GMT 2nd of July 2024

On July 2nd, the Barcelona Provincial Court granted amnesty to 46 national police officers who faced charges stemming from their role in quelling protests during the October 1st, 2017 Catalonian independence referendum. This decision contrasts sharply with the Supreme Court’s ruling the day before, July 1st, which denied amnesty to former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont and several other independence leaders. The Supreme Court justified its decision by arguing that the crimes these leaders are accused of, primarily embezzlement of public and European funds to support the independence movement, are not covered under the amnesty law.

Both cases fall under the recently approved and controversial amnesty law, passed by the Spanish Congress in late May and sponsored by Socialist Party leader and Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez. This law potentially grants amnesty to around 500 individuals involved in the 2017 protests, with exceptions for extreme cases. However, the Barcelona court’s decision to grant amnesty to police officers accused of severe actions like torture or inhuman treatment is seen as lenient and has sparked criticism.

The disparities between amnesty granted to police officers and denied to Catalan leaders are likely to provoke public unrest in Catalonia. The Supreme Court’s decision is viewed by many as politically motivated, especially given past protests following the sentencing of nine independence leaders in 2019, which resulted in widespread disruptions and clashes in major Catalan cities.

Following these developments, there are concerns about renewed civil unrest in Catalonia. Travellers should stay updated with local media for any announcements of protests or demonstrations in the region and exercise caution accordingly.


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