Misc 08/01/2021

Spanish right equates the assault on the Capitol with the Catalan Independence Bid

PP, Vox and Cs also compare it to Indignados movement

Mireia Esteve
2 min
Alejandro Fernández i Pablo Casado ahir en la seva visita a Gimenells, al Segrià.

BarcelonaHalf the world watched in stupefaction on Wednesday as thousands of protesters supporting U.S. President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol to try to stop the debate that was to certify Joe Biden's victory at the polls. Quickly, the world's leading leaders condemned the events without qualification. So did Spanish President Pedro Sanchez and opposition leader Pablo Casado. In the Spanish state, however, the right wing has used the assault on the American Parliament as ammunition to charge against the Catalan independence movement and also against Podemos.

Both the PP and Vox agreed in comparing the attempt to forcibly challenge the US election results with the March 15, 2011 protests around Parliament, in which hundreds of demonstrators tried to prevent MPs from entering the chamber, and also with the events of autumn 2017, including demonstrations, the referendum and the declaration of independence. The first to shoot was Vox leader Santiago Abascal, who directly compared Trump to Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias, whom he accused of instigating "an assault on Congress" during March 15. "It is strange that the left thinks the assault on the Capitol is so bad," Abascal said in a tweet, in which he also accused the pro-independence leaders "of assaulting the Catalan Parliament" in 2017.

The PP was more diplomatic, but they didn't make any distinctions either. "Extremisms on the right and left feed on each other", said the leader of the PP, Pablo Casado, from Gimenells in the tenth visit to Catalonia recently. The PP leader then demanded that all parties condemn "any assault on any parliament". "It is not worth being selective, they are all attacks on democracy", added the president of the PP in Catalonia, Alejandro Fernández.

The first anniversary of 1-O

For the PP, all this is the result of "populist" movements that are "harmful" to democracy. "The aggression against the institutions on Wednesday was preceded by an appeal to the social division that reminds us of circumstances we have experienced in this country," Casado said. This thesis had been previously voiced by Ciudadanos' leaders such as MP Sonia Sierra, who on Wednesday made a tweet in which she assured that there was a "reasonable" resemblance between the image of Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart standing on a police car on 20-S and that of pro-Trump demonstrators on a car in front of the Capitol.

However, this Thursday the leader of Ciudadanos, Inés Arrimadas, dismissed the comparison between the pro-independence protests and the assault on the Capitol, even though she defended that parties should condemn both. However, she did reproach the pro-independence leaders for encouraging their protesters with "populist speeches". And she used the incidents of the first anniversary of October 1, 2018, when hundreds of people protested in front of the Parliament. "If they didn't enter Parliament it's because the Mossos didn't consent. They would have done the same thing, but without weapons," she said, reported Anna Mascaró.

The Spanish government rejected the parallels drawn by the right, and Vice President Nadia Calviño said that the only assault she had seen in the state was the attempted coup d'état on 23 February 1981. In Podemos, Pablo Iglesias attributed the events in Washington to the extreme right, while Pablo Echenique criticised the fact that PP, Cs and Vox did not condemn them with sufficient "forcefulness".