Updated: Live industry reacts to Catalan leaders’ arrests
The team behind Barcelona festival Primavera Sound is among those to have released a statement in support of “the free exercise of democracy”, following the arrest of nine leaders of the 2017 Catalan independence movement.
“In the face of the guilty verdict from the Spanish Supreme Court against the Catalan politicians and activists, Primavera Sound manifests its unconditional support to the free exercise of democracy and of dialogue to reach an understanding to resolve political conflicts,” reads the statement from the Primavera team, which also runs events in Portugal and Los Angeles.
“The criminalisation of peaceful movements and civil demonstrations sets a dangerous precedent for everybody.”
The statement follows yesterday’s (14 October) sentencing of nine politicians and activists to 9 – 13 years in prison for “sedition” and “misuse of public funds”. A further three defendants were found guilty of “disobedience” and released on bail.
The individuals on trial organised the Catalan independence referendum in 2017 and declared independence of Catalonia, a semi-autonomous region in northeast Spain, from the rest of the country. The referendum and ruling were later declared illegal by Spain’s Constitutional Court.
“From the team of people that make up Primavera Sound,” continues the statement, “we want to show our empathy and support to all those condemned and to their families at this time. And, as always, we call for debate and serene, civil and peaceful expression.”
The organisers of Festival Cruilla, which also takes place at Primavera Sound home Parc del Forum, shared an image with the Catalan words: La presó no es la solució – imprisonment is not a solution, in English.
“The criminalisation of peaceful movements and civil demonstrations sets a dangerous precedent for everybody”
The Catalan association of agents, promoters and managers (Associació de Representants, Promotors i Mànagers de Catalunya) has also spoken out against the arrests.
“As a representative body of the live music sector, the ARC Association expresses its rejection of the Supreme Court’s condemning sentence against the Catalan social and political leaders,” reads a statement on the association’s Twitter page.
Catalan venues and cultural centres have also showed their solidarity with the jailed leaders, with the Barcelona Centre of Contemporary Culture, La Nau Bòstik and Sala Flyhard among those to close their doors in protest.
Barcelona opera house el Gran Teatre del Liceu issued a statement to saying, “we defend political dialogue as the only pathway for the urgent resolution of this conflict.” Programming is continuing as normal as the opera house, which serves as “an open space for freedom of expression”.
Another figure of the classical music scene, the Catalan choral society (Orfeó Català), weighed in to say that the sentencing “worsens the situation in the country and leaves the conflict further from being resolved”.
A whole host of Catalan artists have also expressed support for the leaders, including pop group El Amics de les Arts, folk band Els Catarres, reggae group Oques Grasses, guitarist Mazoni and singers Sílvia Pérez Cruz, Núria Graham, Cesk Freixas and Gerard Quintana.
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