Catalan political class pays tribute to president executed by Franco regime
Representatives lay flowers at the grave of Lluís Companys on Montjuïc, where the Catalan leader was executed by firing squad 78 years ago
Representatives of Catalonia's political parties and institutions paid tribute to iconic Catalan president, Lluís Companys, on Barcelona's Montjuïc mountain on Monday morning.
Companys, who was president during the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), was executed by firing squad on Montjuïc by the Franco regime on October 15, 1940, some 78 years ago.
Every year, representatives of Catalonia's political class lay floral tributes on the grave of the only democratically elected president in European recent history to have been executed.
After going into exile in France after Franco's victory in the war, Companys was captured by the Gestapo secret police and handed over to the Franco regime, who executed him at Montjuïc Castle.
Monday's tribute included representatives of the ERC, PDECat, JxCat, PSC, Demòcrates, Catalunya en Comú-Podem and CUP political parties, as well as current president, Quim Torra, Parliament president, Roger Torrent, and Barcelona mayor, Ada Colau.
The tribute began early, at 7am, with a march of torches and the first laying of floral offerings by members of ERC, which was Companys' political party, with the rest of the political representatives following suit.
Repression past and present
This year's remembrance was overshadowed by the situation of Catalan political leaders in jail awaiting trial for their part in last year's independence referendum. Some of their family members attended the tribute.
Laura Masvidal, the wife of jailed former interior minister Joaquim Forn, said at the ceremony: "I cannot stop thinking that those responsible for the repression we are living through today are the heirs of those who killed president Companys."
Torra: "We will fight to the end"
Catalan President Quim Torra praised Company's republican values of justice, freedom and fraternity, and said his government is ready to "fight to the end, whatever the consequences." He also regretted the Spanish government not officially condemning Company's execution.
Meanwhile, the vice president and ERC member, Pere Aragonès, praised Companys for his "commitment to social justice, the republic and Catalonia," adding that these values "are the ones that marked the life of Companys and are the ones that guide us now."