Independence bid
Politics 05/07/2022

Protest outside Supreme Court Judge's lecture outside Barcelona Bar Association

A score of jurists leave Marchena's lecture as a sign of protest

2 min
Protest against Manuel Marchena's presence in Barcelona

BarcelonaTwo loud protests greeted the conference given yesterday afternoon by Supreme Court judge Manuel Marchena at the Bar Association of Barcelona (ICAB). Hundreds of people – 400 according to the police – gathered outside the building to protest against the presence of the president of the court that tried and sentenced the leaders of the Independence bid. In addition twenty lawyers present at the event, which dealt with artificial intelligence and criminal proceedings and to which journalists were denied access, stood up and left the conference in protest.

Among the protagonists of the protest was lawyer Josep Cruanyes, who before leaving addressed the magistrate: "Mr. Marchena, you have turned the Supreme Court into a court of exception," he said. The judge and former ERC senator Santi Vidal also left the courtroom. ARA has had access to a video recorded from inside the room, on the eighth floor of the ICAB, in which it can be seen how a woman takes out a Catalan independence flag and the rest of the attendees shout at the protestors.

There were also shouts from an hour before, outside the building, where hundreds of people attended a call by ANC, Òmnium Cultural and lawyers linked to the independence movements have protested amidst a strong police presence. There were shouts of "independence" and "Marchena to the slammer". At some points there was tension in the police cordon, but the police did not end up charging. At the beginning of the protest, the police cordon was right next to the building, and when officers moved the demonstration from the sidewalk there was pushing and shoving.

Tension also surfaced when the lawyers who attended the talk left the building. Some of the protesters rebuked them shouting "botiflers" [traitors]. The attendees were surprised when they came across the protesters, since in the room where the conference was held, on the eighth floor, the street protest could not be heard.

Among the protesters were the presidents of Òmnium Cultural, Xavier Antich, and of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC), Dolors Feliu; as well as representatives of the pro-independence parties, including JxCat vice president Josep Rius, and ERC MP and Deputy Speaker Alba Vergés. The ANC has set up a screen on the corner between Mallorca and Roger de Llúria streets where images of the referendum were projected. "We have come to tell Marchena that despite his repression we will do it again," Antich said, while Feliu defined the magistrate as "a repressor and not a person of laws".

Marchena, who arrived well before the protest began, thus avoiding the demonstrators, left in a car that quickly left the premises while there were still a few dozen demonstrators outside. At that moment, one of the political prisoners –now pardoned by the Spanish government– who were sentenced for the organisation of the 1 October 2017 referendum arrived. Accompanied by his wife, the now secretary general of JxCat, Jordi Turull, attended an event that was held later with the ICAB's new lawyers, including his daughter, Europa Press reported. The demonstrators applauded him on his arrival. A spokesman for the Bar Association told Efe that the entity "is and will always be a guarantor of plurality of thought and freedom of expression", which is why its governing board "does not censor or veto" the presence of lawyers, including Marchena.