Barca seeks 'justice' for jailed Catalan ministers
BARCELONA, Spain – A huge Catalan flag and banners reading "justice" in Catalan and English were displayed before Barcelona's La Liga clash with Sevilla on Saturday, November 4 amid the escalating political crisis sweeping Barcelona.
On Thursday, November 2, 8 ministers of the deposed Catalan government, following the enforcement of home rule by the Spanish government, were detained pending a possible trial for their roles in the drive for Catalan independence.
A Spanish judge has also issued an arrest warrant for Catalonia's deposed leader Carles Puigdemont, who has fled to Belgium.
Members of Barca's singing section announced in a statement prior to the match they wouldn't enter the stadium until the 10th minute in solidarity with the 8 detained ministers plus two other civil society leaders, Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart, who have been remanded in custody since October 16 on accusations of sedition.
Once they took their habitual place behind the goal, two other banners reading "Freedom for political prisoners" and "Europe shame on you" were held up.
Loud cries of "freedom" were also heard from a smaller crowd than expected at the 99,000 capacity Camp Nou due to inclement weather in Barcelona.
The club has backed Catalonia's right to self-determination of independence, but not given their support to either side of the independence debate.
However, Barca expressed their "dismay" at events earlier this week.
"FC Barcelona is dismayed by the prison sentences issued today by the National Court and declares its solidarity with those affected and their families," the club said in a statement on Thursday, November 2.
"FC Barcelona does not consider actions like these to contribute to the building of paths towards dialogue and respect that we as a club have always defended."
Regional Catalan elections have been called by the Spanish government for December 21, just two days before Barca travel to Madrid to face rivals Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu. – Rappler.com