Protesters punish banks in Cataluña for abandoning region

CATALAN activisits flocked to withdraw cash as a protest against banks who moved their headquarters from the region following the independence referendum.

Some protesters withdrew €155 as a symbolic nod to the government’s invoking of Article 155 of the constitution in order to impose direct rule on Cataluña. Others withdrew €1,714 to reference the year 1714 when the city of Barcelona fell to King Felipe V’s troops.

Two influential pro-independence groups, the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and Omnium Cultural encouraged people on social media to take “peaceful direct action” to protest the measures taken by Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and his government.

The leaders of the two groups, Jordi Sánchez and Jordi Cuixart, were detained on Monday accused of inciting rebellion throughout the referendum proceedings.

Independence activists were encouraged to withdraw money from the five main bank chains, in particular CaixaBank and Sabadell who announced plans to move their headquarters from Barcelona over fears the region would split from Spain.    

The banks are among 900 companies who made the decision to pack up shop and move from Cataluña, worried the unrest could impact business.

Santi Vila, the business minister for the Catalan regional parliament, condemned the protest on social media, stressing that putting pressure on the economy was not the way forward.

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