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Catalan Independence Activist’s Imprisonment Sparks Protests In Barcelona

Protests in Barcelona against imprisonment of activist Dani Gallardo for involvement in Catalan independence protests

 Last Tuesday, July 25th, the Spanish justice system informed 25-year-old Dani Gallardo that he had 10 days to enter prison voluntarily after being sentenced to 4 years for taking part in the protests in Madrid against the long jail sentences for sedition handed down to the Catalan political prisoners in 2019. This Monday, as an action in response to this instruction, hundreds of people gathered at the doors of the Catalan High Court (TSJC), on Passeig Lluís Companys in Barcelona. Among those present, prominent pro-independence politicians and activists who wanted to raise their voices against this sentence. Among the groups who called for the protest were Via Independència, the ANC, Col·lectiu Ara, Òmnium ahd Desobediència Civil, whose members addressed the crowd. The demonstration was attended by politicians such as the president of Junts, Laura Borràs, the head of the CUP list in parliament, Dolors Sabater and musician and activist Lluís Llach.

In the speeches given during the event, the speakers highlighted “the feeling of being forgotten” which Gallardo has faced with regard to society and the political class since he was convicted. Speechmakers reportedly criticized the fact that no-one “had done anything” in response to his jailing and asserted the need to prevent “anyone facing retaliation from being left alone”. In addition, they expressed demands for his acquittal and the determination not to take “a single step back”. Gallardo is the first person to be sent to prison on a final sentence for the events of Catalan independence process in October 2017 since the political prisoners.
“Today we are in Passeig Lluís Companys supporting @DaniAbsolucio, who is due to enter prison at any time. Dani Gallardo, acquittal!” said CDR El Parc i la Vila Olímpica on a tweet.

Dani Gallardo at the Audiència de Madrid. On Tuesday last week, the judge in charge of Dani Gallardo’s case set a deadline of ten days for the activist to voluntarily enter prison to serve the four-year sentence imposed by the Supreme Court. ALBERT CADANET/ACN.

On Tuesday last week, the judge in charge of Dani Gallardo’s case set a deadline of ten days for the activist to voluntarily enter prison to serve the four-year sentence imposed by the Supreme Court. The sentence was handed down in connection with his participation in the demonstrations in Madrid in 2019, which protested against the sentencing to jail of the nine political and civil leaders of the Catalan independence movement. The group giving support to the activist issued a statement last week expressing its solidarity with Gallardo and recalled that, although the Supreme Court partially accepted his appeal, reducing the initial sentence, this did not prevent him from entering a prison. Gallardo’s supporters stated that their determination “is firm” and that they will not give up in the face of the “fascist Spanish state”. They assure that they will continue to fight “from wherever the path of repression takes them.”

Gallardo already spent a year in pre-trial detention before the Supreme Court sentenced him to 4 years in prison. The sentence is based on his participation in crimes of public disorder and attacks against police officers during the 2019 demonstrations in Madrid against the sedition trial sentence. However, the Catalan group Assembly of Activists and Those Facing Reprisals has pointed out that this case is not an exception, and that there are still 4,500 people who face reprisals for having taken part in actions in favour of independence.

According to Catalan News, Gallardo denied taking part in the protests and said he was having a drink with a friend when they suddenly found themselves surrounded by agents.

“I’d rather be beaten up myself than her,” said Gallardo to the judge in Madrid’s regional court, alleging that he used his body as a human shield to protect his friend.

Produced in association with El Nacional En

Edited by Eunice Anyango Oyule and Judy J. Rotich

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