Spanish police and national security forces are investigating whether or not leaders of Catalonia’s pro-independence movement and political parties may be involved in directing protests in Barcelona and other Catalan cities via the so-called Tsunami Democràtic website and mobile app, acting President Pedro Sánchez confirmed in a televised interview Monday evening.
In the interview, Sánchez told Telecinco news presenter Pedro Piqueras that his government is currently looking at whether or not there are “links between political leaders and some (technology) platforms. I cannot comment in advance, but the Intelligence services and the State Security Forces and agencies are looking into the matter and we will get to the bottom of it”.
Sparked by the 14th October Supreme Court conviction and sentencing of nine Catalan pro-independence leaders on charges relating to an illegal October 2017 referendum on Catalonia’s secession from Spain, a series of initially peaceful protests over the past two weeks have turned violent, as small but well-organized groups of hooded and masked protesters have erected and burnt barricades, hurling stones, molotov cocktails and other objects at police in a series of nightly running street battles.
According to Spanish Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska, the violent protesters are “small groups, but well organized with a clear command structure and strategy”. Spanish news reports say the masked protesters began organizing the violence through a shadowy website calling for a Tsunami Democràtic (Democratic Tsunami) in response to the Supreme court verdict and sentences.
Launched in July, the website became known in early September, shortly after pro-independence Catalan political leaders held a strategy planning summit in Switzerland. Former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont, currently living in exile in Belgium after having fled Spain last year to avoid prosecution for his part in the October 2017 referendum, was at the meeting in Switzerland and called for a “democratic tsunami” of protest to sweep through Catalonia once the Supreme Court verdict and sentencing were issued.
Tsunami Democràtic has coordinated the mostly peaceful mass protests over the past week through associated social media sites, but the violent street battles between the most radical protesters and police is believed to be coordinated through an associated encrypted mobile app that can only be downloaded using a QR code that is passed discreetly from one protester to another.
Spain’s Guardia Civil police have shut down several versions of the website, which continues to reappear on other internet domains hosted on serves in different counties. According to news reports, the use of the encrypted mobile app appears to be the key to the coordination of the violent protests and authorities are investigating who may be behind it and whether or not the instructions for when and where to mount protests is linked in any way to politicians or key activists of Catalonia’s pro-independence movement.
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