The case of the two 'Jordis' further angers separatism supporters

Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sànchez outside court ahead of detention.
Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sànchez outside court ahead of detention. / EFE
  • Leaders of independence movements ANC and Òmnium are denied bail on suspicion of sedition as shock waves ripple as far as football

The jailing of two of Catalonia's highest profile independence supporters inflamed the mood among separatists this week, adding to the sense of crisis in the region as the use of Article 155 gets closer.

Jordi Sànchez of the Assamblea Nacional Catalana (ANC) and Jordi Cuixart of Ómnion Cultural appeared at Madrid's top Audiencia Nacional court on Monday for the second time under investigation for sedition for their alleged part in the demonstration that laid seige to Catalan government offices last month while Guardia Civil officers were inside conducting a search ahead of the October 1st banned referendum.

The two groups led by Sànchez and Cuixart, the two 'Jordis' as they have been described, are separatist movements that organise the large rallies in Catalonia. The judge denied bail for fear of destruction of evidence or risk of reoffending.

There was swift reaction from supporters to the decision with protests across Catalonia against the detentions, including from some non-separatists who feared that the court action had gone to far.

Mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, said it was a “barbarity” that people had been held for organising “a peaceful demonstration”.

In the national parliament on Wednesday the speaker had to order MPs from separatist parties and Unidos Podemos to stop holding signs appealing for the release of the 'Jordis'.

The government responded by saying that the detention was a judicial decision and that the 'Jordis' are not “political prisoners”, as protesters have claimed, but are “politicians in prison” for allegedly breaking the law.

On Tuesday evening an estimated 200,000 people took to Barcelona's main Diagonal avenue for a silent, candlelit protest.

Football gets involved

Meanwhile, tensions around the arrest spilled over into football. FC Barcelona directors, known for Catalan nationalist sympathies, invited an ANC and a Ómnion representative to sit in the directors' box for Wednesday night's Champions League game against Olympiakos in order to highlight the arrests.

However, when the club denied them permission to unfurl a large banner calling directly for the two 'Jordis' to be released, the two representatives declined to attend.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, a Catalan and independence supporter, is facing criticism after publicly dedicating his team's Tuesday-night victory over Napoli to the two 'Jordis'.

The head of the Mossos regional police, Josep Lluis Trapero, who is also being investigated as part of the same case, was not detained on Monday.