Belgian Consulate in Barcelona daubed with anti-independence graffiti

The Belgian Consulate in Barcelona has been daubed with slogans against Catalan independence and the presence of the former Catalan Prime Minister Carles Puigdemont here. Mr Puigdemont is currently residing in the Walloon Brabant town of Waterloo. He faces arrest on charges of rebellion and misappropriation of public money if he returns to Spain.

The Belgian Foreign Ministry has confirmed the incident, but will make no further comment. The consulate will remain open as usual and the graffiti will be removed.  

The front façade of the building and the floor at the entrance of the consulate have been daubed with slogans such as “prison for Puigdemont”, “Belgium, a haven for criminals” and “Belgium and accessory to separatism”. The graffiti is signed by La Falange, a far right party that is vigorously opposed to Catalan independence.

The Barcelona-based newspaper ‘La Vanguardia’ reports that various pro-independence organisations have been victims of far-right vandals in recent weeks. However, the paper goes on to say that this is the first time the Belgian Consulate has been targeted.   

The charges against Mr Puigdemont relate to him having organised an independence referendum on 1 October last year. According to the Spanish constitution, the referendum was illegal. A number of former ministers and the leaders of pro-independence organisations were arrested and are current in prison on remand. Carles Puigdemont left and was able to escape arrest. He currently lives in a rented villa in the upmarket town of Waterloo around 18km south of Brussels.