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Catalan Protesters Demand Release of Political Prisoners in Amsterdam

Around 60 people gathered in Amsterdam’s city center on Saturday afternoon to protest against Catalan political prisoners in Spain.

The demonstration took place one day before a massive protest in Barcelona, where around 300’000 people marched against the imprisonment of Catalan separatist leaders and exiled politicians, according to The New York Times. Saturday’s demonstration in Dam Square was organized by the Catalan Assembly (ANC) and the International Socialists (IS). This was one of many small-scaled demonstrations worldwide to demand the release of Catalan political leaders.

Around 60 people, from kids to elders, attended the event which lasted until 3pm. Andrea Rossignoli / Staff Photographer

At 2PM, both Dutch and Catalan adults and children attended the demonstration for approximately one hour. Protesters sang Els Sagadors, Catalonia’s National Anthem, as they waved the Catalan flag and protest signs that read “Llibertat presos polítics!” (Freedom for political prisoners!), “Free Catalonia,” among others.

A sign reads “Llibertat presos polítics!” (Freedom for political prisoners!). A significant number of the attendees carried Catalonia’s flag wrapped around their torsos, as well as several posters that reinforced the demonstration’s purpose. Andrea Rossignoli / Staff Photographer

A tourist takes a picture with his smartphone to two protesters at the Dam Square on Saturday afternoon. Andrea Rossignoli / Staff Photographer

One of the protesters was Teresa Duran, a Catalan tourist in Amsterdam. According to Duran, it is important to protest over Catalan political prisoners outside of Catalonia and Spain because the local news stories about Catalonia are designed to misinform the audience. For this reason, Duran believes international media coverage on the issue is a necessity.

From right: Dutch 48-year-old Walter and his 6-year-old son carry a sign that reads “Free Catalonia” to show support to his Catalan wife’s beliefs. Andrea Rossignoli / Staff Photographer

Ewout van den Berg has been an active IS member for 8 years. “It’s not about independence, it’s about democracy”, said the Dutch protester on-stage. This was a reference to the referendum for Catalonia’s independence last October 2017 and its aftermath. After the Spanish government deemed the referendum as illegal, the separatist majority of the Catalan parliament declared independence on October 27, 2017.  Madrid reacted by using the emergency powers, stated in Article 155 of the Constitution, to dissolve the parliament and imprison separatist leaders.

The protestors gathered in front of the National Monument and listened attentively to the different speakers who talked about the ongoing issue in English, Dutch and Catalan. Andrea Rossignoli / Staff Photographer

Van den Berg claims that the EU should stand up against the Spanish government and its actions regarding Catalonia’s Independence Movement. Therefore, he demands the Dutch government to speak up against Spain’s anti-separatist measures. “It’s not about ‘we are in the Netherlands saying there should be independence’, it is about people having the right to decide for themselves.”

Ewout van den Berg, active member of the International Socialists, helped to organize the protest and shared his views on the issue by emphasizing that they are not protesting for indepenency, but for democracy. Andrea Rossignoli / Staff Photographer

 

Professional cheese-sample thief and metro reporter in Spring 2018

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