Julian Assange is well known for his support of the Catalan independence movement. Spain reacted swiftly to Catalonia’s Declaration of Independence in October of 2017 and moved to impose direct rule over the legally autonomous region which according to its leaders should have been regarded as a sovereign state.
On 30 October, 2017, the deposed Catalan President Carles Puigdemont and several of his deputies fled to Belgium to avoid arrest by Madrid. Since then, Catalonia has held new regional elections under Spanish supervision and while pro-independence groups won more seats than pro-Madrid parties, the status of Catalonia appeared to be frozen as the conflict between Barcelona and Madrid appeared to freeze after no foreign nation recognised Catalan statehood.
However, anger has been reignited on the streets of Catalonia after Puigdemont was arrested by the German authorities as he was making his way back to Belgium after attending a conference in Finland. The arrest comes as Spain sought a European Arrest Warrant for Puigdemont on charges relating to sedition.
In response to these events, Julian Assange Tweeted his support for Puidgemont by highlighting the fact that in 1940, the Catalan President Lluís Companys was arrested in Germany by Nazi authorities and handed over to the fascist Spanish regime where he was ultimately executed.
Last October, Spanish ruling party spokesman @pablocasado_ warned President #Puigdemont that he would "end up like President Companys". Catalonia's President Companys was arrested by Germany, delivered to Spain by the Gestapo & executed by firing squad.https://t.co/n1gQcz8PVx
— Julian Assange ⌛ (@JulianAssange) March 26, 2018
According to a source close to Assange who spoke with RT, the Embassy of Ecuador in London cut off Assange’s internet signal as a result of his pro-Catalan Tweet. Since former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa was termed out in 2017, his successor Lenín Moreno has been less overtly supportive of Assange vis-a-vis his predecessor who expressed a deep personal admiration for Assange and his work with Wikileaks.
Since Assange’s internet was cut off on the 28th of March, demonstrators have gathered at the Ecuadorian Embassy while supporters of Assange have taken to social media to demand a restoration of Julian Assange’s only line of communication to the outside world.