On Tuesday, 60,000 signatures were offered to the House of Representatives in The Hague. They are from Catalan Europeans or from people who support the region in Spain. Eindhoven residents are among those Catalans.
They want to release political prisoners in Spain. “There are people stuck there who have done nothing wrong,” Núria Barceló Peiró muttered. “Human rights are being violated and we want action to be taken.” Núria lives in Eindhoven, is integrated and speaks Dutch well. About fifteen years ago, she mainly felt sentiment for Catalonia.
Now she feels that the Spanish government has turned against the region and so she is committed to an independent Catalonia. “If politics in our region wants something, it is ‘no’ in advance,” she says. 25 laws approved by the Catalan parliament have been thrown in the garbage by the Spanish government.
Núria traveled to The Hague on Tuesday to hand over the European petition to members of the House of Representatives (Tweede Kamer). The signature campaign aims to free nine Catalan prisoners. They have been detained for almost two years. At the time of the referendum to make Catalonia an independent state, the nine were arrested. Among them are leaders of cultural organizations, the president of the Catalan government and campaigners. Several political leaders have now fled Spain to Belgium.
“The Netherlands, do something!”
“Dutch politics have the highest word about Trump and Erdogan, but nothing is said about Spain. That is hypocritical. The situations between those countries do not differ much from each other,” Núria says. At the airport she picks up two activists who are also protesting in The Hague. One of them is a clown who has stood with a clown’s nose next to a police officer in Spain. He was then arrested and is now waiting for his trial.
Spaniards in Eindhoven
It is estimated that a few dozen Catalans live in Eindhoven. There are many more Spaniards in the city. They regularly find jobs at international companies in the region. And according to the rules, Núria and her companions themselves are also simply Spaniards. But when asked at Eindhoven Airport where her Spanish guests are staying, she says strictly: “Catalan guests!”