Public Statement - Democratic Values

Public statement from Penya Blaugrana London, as approved by members at the last General Assembly

  1. Penya Blaugrana London firmly and unambiguously respect and defend basic democratic values and human rights principles, such as freedom of speech, freedom of peaceful assembly, and right to fair trial among others.
  2. The penya recognises the right to decide of the Catalan people. This is not about taking sides on pro- or anti-independence, but about supporting basic democratic principles as claimed by over 80% of the Catalan population.
  3. The penya condemns the heavy-handed approach of the Spanish government against the Catalan people, politicians and institutions these last few weeks.



The slogan "more than a club" was pinned in 1968 to describe the fact that FCB represented more than a football club to Catalans. For many years in the 20th century, Catalans lived under the shadow of dictatorships and repression that persecuted its people, language, culture and historic values. During these hard times, FCB always sided with the Catalan struggle and sentiments to maintain the flame of catalanity alive.

The penya, as an organisation that represents FCB in London, should always be true to the meaning of "more than a club", and should above all defend and promote democratic values and basic human right principles, and issue condemnations when violations occur, especially when against the Catalan people. Let's remember, FCB is a Catalan club. And is "mes que un club" for a reason.

In our view, the recent heavy-handed and draconian actions against the Catalan people and institutions these last few weeks have unfortunately surpassed the realms of politics, and could be argued have now entered the realms of state repression (see contextual information below).

And let's clarify, everything that has happened in Catalonia these last few weeks appears to be legal under Spanish law. However, let's also remember that state repression has always been applied in accordance to the laws of the land. This is similar to basic civil rights violations such as slavery, black segregation, apartheid, women discrimination, etc. Ultimately, not because something is legal it is right, democratically sound, or respectful of basic human rights principles.

The bottom line is this. Defending democratic values and human rights principles is not about pro- or anti-independence. It is not about politics. It is about basic human dignity. Everybody should be welcome and respected in the penya, regardless of their political views and opinions. Also, the penya should be true to the meaning of "mes que un club" and should not turn a blind eye when violations of such basic principles occur. Therefore, we feel this position is important to maintain the moral integrity of the penya.


Contextual Information

These are a few of the disproportionate actions that have happened against the Catalan people, politicians and institutions in recent weeks that have led to this public statement:

  • Indiscriminate and disproportionate use of state force against the Catalan population during the Catalan referendum to stop people from voting. This includes dragging women by the hair and throwing them downstairs, punching elderly women in the face with blood pouring down their faces, firing rubber bullets against peaceful demonstrators, etc.
  • Imprisonment of the Catalan elected government without bail or trial under dubious charges of rebellion and sedition, which implies uprising against the country by force
  • Imprisonment of Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart, presidents of the Catalan organisations ANC and Omnium, accused of the dubious charge of sedition for simply organising a demonstration to protests against indiscriminate police investigations
  • Humiliating and demeaning treatment of political prisoners, with disproportionate use of force during arrests, handcuffs in court (traditionally only used for dangerous criminals), refusal of bail, mistreatment and psychological abuse during transport and in prison, etc.
  • Judicial process against 750 Catalan elected mayors (out of 900) for agreeing to facilitate the 1st October Catalan referendum.
  • Constant violation of basic human rights such as freedom of expression and right of peaceful assembly. Over 500 Catalan websites have been censored simply for making references to the 1st October referendum, or just for condemning police brutality. Also, peaceful gatherings have been vilified to justify charges of rebellion and sedition.
  • Indiscriminate and disproportionate harassment of Catalan politicians, institutions, organisations and private companies with the excuse of searching for 1st October referendum "evidence". This includes searches without warrants, violation of the sanctity of mail, police intimidations, indiscriminate tapping of private phone calls, etc.
Saturday, November 25, 2017