In October 1973, around 150 members of the Assembly of Catalonia attended a clandestine meeting in the Church of Santa Maria Mitjancera. The police raided the church and arrested 113 participants at the meeting.
At 9 am on 28 October 1973, some 150 members of the Standing Committee of the Assembly of Catalonia – a platform for a unified anti-Franco opposition – entered the Church of Santa Maria Mitjancera, where a clandestine meeting was to be held. Such events were often carried out in places of worship, as some of Catalonia’s ecclesiastical sectors identified with the anti-Francoist cause. Moreover, in 1953, the Franco regime had accepted a Vatican concordat that prohibited police intervention in a place of worship. However, this pact was rendered invalid if the police received permission from the civil governor to enter the church.
Despite the steps taken to keep the meeting a secret, two hours after the meeting began, the police surrounded the building and, with the corresponding permission, entered the church and arrested most of the participants, though some managed to escape amidst the chaos. In total, 113 members of the Assembly were arrested and taken to the police station on Via Laietana. There, they were subject to endless interrogations as well as physical and verbal abuse. All of them were put behind bars, men in the Model prison and women in the Trinitat prison. A campaign of solidarity with the prisoners ensued and leaflets were handed out all over the city. In prison, members of the Standing Committee received a continuous outpouring of support from Catalonia, the rest of Spain and abroad. Repression under the regime led to a rallying of support for the Assembly of Catalonia, which became the main platform of opposition until the elections in 1977.
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