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Stormy protest in Barcelona after ex-Catalan leader arrested

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Thousands of Catalan separatists hit the streets of Barcelona on Sunday, vowing the arrest of former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont in Germany would not stop their push for independence.

Some threw garbage cans at Catalan police in riot gear, who responded by beating demonstrators with their batons or firing warning shots in the air.

“This Europe is shameful!,” they chanted as they marched by the office of the European Commission in the Catalan capital.

Despite the efforts of Puigdemont, who fled to Brussels after the Catalan parliament declared independence on October 27 and Madrid countered by taking control of the region, no European Union member state backed the secessionist cause.

Outside of the German consulate demonstrators held up a photo of German Chancellor Angela Merkel sporting a Hitler-style moustache.

Many chanted “no more smiles”, a reference to the longstanding claim from Catalan separatist leaders that their drive to break the wealthy northeastern region away from Spain would be a “revolution of smiles”.

But other separatist leaders like Elsa Artadi, a lawmaker in the Catalan parliament for Puigdemont’s Together for Catalonia party, appealed for calm.

The protest was called by the radical Committees for the Defence of the Republic (CDR), which were set up just before Catalonia held a referendum on independence on October 1 that was banned by the courts.

– ‘More radical’ –
“They are not going to stop anything with these arrests, on the contrary,” said Yolanda Salleras, a 37-year-old physiotherapist.

“They want to bury us but each time they hit us, four new separatists arise. They want to decapitate us but we are two million,” she added.

Salleras said the time had come for separatists to do more than just hit the streets in protest.

“We need something more radical. I would paralyse the country, a general strike lasting several days until they free everyone,” she said.

According to Catalan public radio, CDR members blocked several roads in Catalonia, causing traffic jams, just as they did during two strikes in the region last year called to protest police violence during the independence referendum.

Aside from Puigdemont, who was arrested in Germany on a European warrant issued by Spain, nine other Catalan separatist leaders are in jail over their role in the region’s independence push.

Five other Catalan separatist leaders went into exile along with Puigdemont, who will now have to appear before a German judge who will decide if he is sent back to Spain to face trial.

“I hope they will not extradite him but I am not very optimistic,” said Rosa Vela, a 60-year-old teacher.

– ‘Other Puigdemonts’ –
Sirens wailed in the background throughout the protest which was held under an overcast sky.

Judit Carapena, a 22-year-old architecture student, said Spain’s central government should not “sing victory because it is not the end of separatism, far from it.”

“It’s the people who fuel separatism and they can’t put us all in jail. There will be other Puigdemonts,” she added.

Polls show Catalans are almost evenly divided on the issue of independence but the vast majority back holding a legal referendum to settle the question.

“We are going to continue to resist and fight to be free,” said Julio Vallmitjana, a bearded 64-year-old pensioner who wore his white hair in a pony tail and stood a bit apart from the crowd.

“Before I was in favour of confrontation but I realised that is not the best path. We have nothing more to do than to do things peacefully. The problem is that the good guys never win but we will be the first to do it.”

AFP.

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NFF charges Lobi Stars, Rangers to do more on the continent

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The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), has praised Nigeria’s two representatives in this season’s African club continental competitions, Lobi Stars of Makurdi playing at the CAF Champions League and Rangers International of Enugu who are taking part at the Confederations Cup for their efforts so far.

Lobi Stars are playing at the group stage of the championship alongside Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa, ASEC Mimosas of Cote d’Ivoire and Morocco’s Wydad Athletic Club, while Rangers are paired alongside Etoile Sahel FC, CS Sfaxien (both of Tunisia) and Salitas FC of Burkina Faso.

In a statement issued yesterday in Abuja, General Secretary of the NFF, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi said while he commends the efforts of the team, they must raise their game so as to qualify from their groups.

“I want to commend the Clubs for their efforts so far in the continent. Both Lobi Stars and Rangers International have been doing well and the NFF and indeed Nigerian ball fans are proud of them.

“However, the road ahead is much rougher. Rangers will be playing two experienced campaigners from Tunisia in the group stage, and we know how tough a challenge the North African teams can pose. It means that Rangers must raise their game against these two and against the Burkinabes to reach the quarter finals.

“Lobi Stars put up a commendable performance in Abidjan against ASEC Mimosas though they lost by the odd goal. Now, they must lift their morale to pick the three points against Wydad Athletic Club of Morocco in order to boost their chances of a place in the quarter finals.”

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NFF expresses shock, mourns Ayodeji Alabi

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The Nigeria Football Federation at the weekend said it was still in rude shock over the death of the Chairman of the Ekiti State Football Association, Mr. Ayodeji Desmond Alabi.

Alabi, who was also the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs in Ekiti State, was said to have died in Canada on Thursday.

“We are short of words. The Board of the NFF remembers Ayodeji Alabi as one of the strong pillars of the Congress who stood firm in support of association football at all times. The news of his death came as a big shock to the NFF Board, Members of the Congress and other members of the Nigerian Football family.

“We can only pray fervently for the repose of his soul. We pray that God grants his immediate and extended family, the Ekiti State Football Association and the generality of the people of Ondo State, as well as the NFF Congress the fortitude to bear the loss,” Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi, NFF 1st Vice President and Chairman of the South West Football Forum, said on Sunday.

The 41 –year old had been ill for the past six months and travelled to Canada for medical attention, before he passed on Thursday last week.

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PCN elects new exco board

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The Paralympic Committee Nigeria (PCN) has elected new set of officials for the Executive Board committee of the body.

The election which was held at on January 15, 2019, at the Media Centre of the National Stadium Surulere, Lagos, saw the President of the Wheelchair Basketball Federation, Brigadier General Emico Eruwa emerged as the new President after he pulled 8 votes to beat President of the Nigeria Para Powerlifting Federation, Queen Uboh Moses, who had 6 votes and David Anyaele of the Nigeria Sitting Volleyball Federation who pulled 2 votes respectively.

The post of the 1st Vice President went to the Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Bankole Anderson Abiodun, who emerged unopposed while Akindoju Ifedayo Olaloye of the Wheelchair Tennis Federation was equally elected as the 2nd Vice President unopposed.

Another keenly contested position was the post of the Secretary General where President of the Nigeria Amputee Football Federation Suleiman Isa pulled 9 votes to defeat, the President of the Nigeria Para-Swimming Federation, Otunba Sylvester Ikuejamoye and President of Nigeria Para Athletics Federation, Geoffrey Ogu who scored 4 and 3 votes respectively to emerge as the new Secretary General.

Mr. Odior Sunday Ketu was elected as the assistant Secretary unopposed and same goes to Madam Lawale Modupe Abosede who was elected as Treasurer of the body unopposed.

Other positions include, the Athletes representatives on the board were Ruel Ishaku (male) and Flora Ugwunwa (Female) were earlier elected while 6 zonal representatives were equally elected.

They include, Oyaderin Felix (North Central, Salawu Yekini (North West), Audu Maina (North East), Asaba Pius Idowu (South West), Agbado Douglas (South South) and Sliver Chinedu Ezeikpe (South East).

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