In a tone more akin to the Middle Ages than the 21st century, the far-right Vox party yesterday held its first public meeting in Barcelona, in which leader Santiago Abascal called on 5,000 supporters, according to local police, to “defend the liberty and unity of Spain” and to continue being “the courageous” facing “separatism” and the “cowardice” of the parties on the right. The party announced that should it attain power, it would suspend the Catalan government, the Catalan police and the public broadcaster, TV3. “The reconquest has begun,” said Javier Ortega Smith, the party’s number two and lawyer for Vox in the trial of the independence leaders. At the event, Ignacio Garriga was presented as Vox’s candidate for mayor of Barcelona.
The event on the Maria Cristina avenue took the red and yellow of the Spanish flag as its colours, along with the white and green of Vox. At times could be heard sirens, as the Catalan police kept a counter-protest by anti-fascists away from plaça Espanya, which ended with a burnt container, stones thrown at riot officers, seven arrests and five people injured.
It served as an excuse for Abascal to rail against Barcelona mayor, Ada Colau, who he accused of “leaving us in the street at the mercy of terrorists”, after the council refused permission for the event to be held in the Sant Jordi stadium.