WE are academics working in the fields of law, human rights, politics, sociology, history and related subjects in the UK and Ireland. We write to draw attention to the political repression by the Spanish Government that has intensified in the period following the referendum on October 1, 2017.

We are appalled at the lack of response by the international community to Spain’s use of violence and human rights violations. As the international NGO Human Rights Watch has noted, Spanish police engaged in excessive force and violence against demonstrators.

We also write to express our outrage at the arrest of two activists Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sànchez of the Catalan National Assembly and Omnium Cultural respectively. We are profoundly worried that this is the first step in a major escalation of repression in Catalonia.

We therefore call on our own governments to make the following unequivocal demands:

• That Spain immediately withdraws the Guardia Civil, the Spanish National Police and other paramilitary forces from Catalonia.

• That Spain immediately releases all political prisoners, including Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sànchez and does not use imprisonment against those who organised activities in connection with the referendum.

We are concerned that the level of political repression in Catalonia at the moment is of a severity and arbitrary character not experienced since the Franco dictatorship. The people of Catalonia must be allowed to freely express their political views.

Professor David Whyte, University of Liverpool; Dr Rob Knox, University of Liverpool; Dr Michelle Farrell, University of Liverpool; Dr Vickie Cooper, Open University; Professor Imogen Tyler, Lancaster University; Professor Gillian McIvor, University of Stirling; Professor Steve Murdoch, University of St Andrews ; Professor Andrew Watterson, University of Stirling (personal capacity); Professor Joe Sim, Liverpool John Moores University; Professor Costas Lapavitsas, SOAS University of London; Professor Bill Bowring, Birkbeck, University of London; Professor Phil Scraton, Queens University, Belfast; Professor Miguel Martinez Lucio, University of Manchester; Professor Nira Yuval-Davis, University of East London; Professor Steve Tombs, Open University; Professor Prem Sikka, University of Essex

Professor Gilbert Achcar, SOAS University of London; Professor Andreas Bieler, University of Nottingham; Professor Benjamin Selwyn, University of Sussex; Professor Michael Lavalette, Liverpool Hope University; Professor Ronnie Lippens, Keele University; Dr David Scott, Open University; Dr Michael Mair, University of Liverpool; Dr Féilim Ó hAdhmaill, University College Cork; Tor Krever, University of Warwick; Dr Will Jackson, Liverpool John Moores University; Dr Richard Wild, University of Greenwich; Dr Emily Hart, University of Liverpool; Dr Adam Hanieh, SOAS University of London; Dr Úna Barr, Liverpool John Moores University; Dr Andrew Henley, Keele University; Dr Simon Joyce, Leeds University; Dr Gareth Dale, Brunel University; Dr Niall Whelehan, University of Strathclyde; Dr Feyzi Ismail, SOAS University of London; Dr Phil Edwards, Manchester Metropolitan University; Dr Sophia Price, Leeds Beckett University; Dr Kirsteen Paton, University of Liverpool; Dr Lindsey Metcalf, Liverpool John Moores University; Colin Barker, Manchester Metropolitan University; Dr Jeffrey Stevenson Murer, University of St Andrews; Dr Adam Fishwick, Senior Lecturer, De Montfort University; Dr Hazel Cameron, University of St Andrews; Hannah R Wilkinson, Keele University; Dr Tom Slater, University of Edinburgh; Dr Monish Bhatia, Birkbeck, University of London; Dr David Bailey, University of Birmingham; Dr Jon Las Heras, University of Manchester; Hugo Radice, University of Leeds; Dr Kanchana N. Ruwanpura, University of Edinburgh; Dr Luke Stobart, Birkbeck, University of London; Dr Geraint Whittaker, University of Liverpool; Dr Elisenda Casanas Adam, University of Edinburgh; Dr Chris Hesketh, Oxford Brookes University; Dr Rachel Seoighe, Middlesex University; Dr Sofa Gradi, King's College London; Dr Lena Wånggren, University of Edinburgh; Dr Xavier Rubio-Campillo, University of Edinburgh; Neil Davidson, University of Glasgow; Dr Rizwaan Sabir, Liverpool John Moores University; Robert Turner, University of St Andrews; Dr Robert Jones, University of South Wales; Dr Kathryn Chadwick, Manchester Metropolitan University; Dr Julia Downes, Open University; Michael Harrison, University of South Wales; Dr Ben Whitham, De Montfort University

Dr Mary Corcoran, Keele University; Dr Mark Hayes, Southampton Solent University; Dr Ala Sirriyeh Lecturer in Sociology, Keele University; Dr Mark Davis, University of Leeds; Dr Paul McFadden, University of York; Dr Dan van der Horst, University of Edinburgh; Dr Louise Kowalska Ruskin College, Oxford; Dr Ciara Kierans, University of Liverpool; Dr Pablo Ciocchini, University of Liverpool; Dr Stefanie Khoury, University of Liverpool; Dr Karen Evans, University of Liverpool; Jokubas Salyga, University of Nottingham; Dr Owen Worth, University of Limerick; Dr Robin Dunford, University of Brighton; Dr Bona Muzaka, King's College London; Dr Paul Jones, University of Liverpool,

c/o University of Liverpool, Brownlow Hill, Liverpool.

"THERE'S no constitution in the world that recognises the right to self-determination" according to the Prime Minister of Spain (a neo-fascist state that has steadfastly refused to investigate atrocities and human rights abuses stretching from 1936 to 1975).

A right -wing regime is using a clause inserted in the constitution by Francoist military to claim legality for its actions.

However, the right to self-determination is enshrined in the UN Charter of Human rights.

In scenes reminiscent of Franco's dictatorship, Catalonian citizens peacefully attempting to exercise their right to vote were subjected to truly shocking treatment, with over 1,000 people injured.

Overlooking the seizing of ballot boxes, the closing of polling stations and the climate of fear deterring many voters, Prime Minister Mariona Rajoy argued that a 90 per cent Yes on a turnout of 43 per cent was no mandate for independence.

The Scottish Government, almost alone, has expressed support for Catalonia, amid a shameful, deafening silence from the EU and UK (while fully aware that this principled stance may jeopardise our hopes of remaining in the EU).

For me, this is a source of pride.

James Stevenson,

Drummond Avenue, Auchterarder.

I NOTE that Nicola Sturgeon has called for the stand-off between Spain and Catalonia to be resolved by “dialogue” and insisted the people should be permitted to “determine their own future” which respects “both democracy and the law”. Really?

First, Ms Sturgeon’s advice would have been taken more seriously if her party had honoured the 2014 Edinburgh Agreement (which she signed) rather than demand another referendum soon afterwards because the result was not to her and her supporters liking. Indeed the idea you can keep having referendums until you get what you want is an affront to democracy and counter-productive to those seeking legitimate change.

Second, there is the small matter that the so-called referendum in Catalonia was illegal and as such should not have taken place without a change to the Spanish law.

Furthermore, it must be very disheartening for the Scottish Nationalists to find that thus far not one single EU leader has come out in favour of the Catalonians who seek separation from Spain - no doubt due to the fear of a domino effect creating a number of mini-states.

Small wonder the Catalans must be very envious of the Scots who not only got their referendum legally but allowed the nationalists to choose the timing and the wording on the ballot paper.

Finally, the Catalonian crisis should serve as a warning to the EU that a number of the other major problems they are facing, such as the large unemployment in many European countries (Spain, Greece), uncontrolled immigration and so on, are a direct result of the “one size fits all policy” (Germany, France) to underpin the euro and the drive for an ever closer political and fiscal union (Federated Europe) comes with many unintended consequences.

Ian Lakin,

Pinelands, Murtle Den Road, Milltimber, Aberdeen.