Protests called after Spain’s Constitutional Court halts independence vote

Catalan MonitorNews Roundup

Spain’s Constitutional Court yesterday suspended the planned referendum on independence that Catalan President Artur Mas had called on Saturday. The move had been announced by the Spanish government several times:

The Guardian | Catalonia independence referendum halted by Spain’s constitutional court In a special meeting on Monday evening that lasted just over an hour, the court unanimously agreed to hear the central government’s court challenge to the referendum. The decision automatically suspends the referendum, as well as the law that allowed the regional government to call the vote, for up to five months.

Spanish President Mariano Rajoy had earlier yesterday said that the referendum was “anti-democratic”:

The Spain Report | Rajoy: Spanish Government To Ask Constitutional Court To Strike Down New Catalan Referendum Law “After examining the State Council report, the Spanish government has formalised appeals against the Catalan law and decree due to their unconstitutional nature. The vote [the Catalans] mean to organise is not compatible with the Spanish constitution.”

Calling the new Catalan law “anti-democratic”, Mr. Rajoy reaffirmed his government’s position that “without law, there is no politics”, adding that: “The Catalan government has taken unilateral decisions to reach a point of no return.”

Catalan President Artur Mas the day before yesterday said that, in the event of a suspension, the Catalan government still had the possibility to lodge an appeal. Mas was confident that Catalans would be voting in the end, one way or another:

VilaWeb | Artur Mas: ‘They cannot stop us voting’
The president insisted that when the Constitutional Court suspends the consultation he will work to convince it that it is legal and to agree to lift the suspension before 9 November.

Mas said, ‘Suspension means that they have to address us and we have to give our opinion. We will tell the Constitutional Court how we have made the decree and I hope we will convince them. We can make allegations. They will have to listen to our position if they are impartial arbiters.’ He added, ‘The Constitutional Court cannot be used to solve political problems. We have a political problem, so let’s solve it from politics.’

Citizens’ protests started to unfold immediately after it was known that the Constitutional Court was about to suspend the referendum. Several hundred pro-independence demonstrators met in front of the Spanish government representation offices in Barcelona:

“First citizens’ response to Constitutional Court suspension at the Government Offices Via @btvnoticies

A quite larger protest could be staged today, as main pro-independence civil society organizations Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and Òmnium Cultural, under the “yes” campaign called Now is the Time,  “called the Catalan population to gather in front of the Catalan town halls tomorrow [today, September 30th] at 19.00, after the Spanish Constitutional Court has blocked the Popular Consultations Law recently approved by the Catalan Government.”

Now is the Time campaign has in fact decided to launch its “yes” campaign as of today, as a response to the vote suspension by the Constitutional Court:

“The Constitutional Court has decided. Us too. Tomorrow, 19:00, everybody dressed in yellow in front of town halls. The “yes” campaign begins!”