Foreign lawyers address crowds in 'support of Catalan Republic'
Defence of prosecuted Catalan officials assert Catalonia's "right to self-determination"
Foreign lawyers took to the stage to address pro-independence supporters. "On October 1, Spanish state used every tactic possible to bully, blackmail, harrass, intimidate and attack," says lawyer Aamer Anwar addressing pro-independence crowds at the demonstration. "Yet three years earlier in Scotland, we took for granted a fundamental human right – the right to vote," he said.
"General Franco would be so proud of modern Spain, acting more like its fascist dictatorship," he said to cheers from supporters of a Catalan republic. "Proud of the actions of Rajoy, the judges, the thugs in uniform, and of course now, that so-called socialist Pedro Sánchez," he added in a direct attack on the current Spanish president who ousted Mariano Rajoy in a vote of no confidence.
"You have the mandate"
"To Catalonia I say: you have the mandate, you have the ideas, the dreams, the people power, and you are on the right side of history," he motivated the hundreds of thousands strong crowd at the National Day rally.
He said how he did not understand how a "corrupt Spanish government can call it undemocratic for a people to vote. Undemocratic when they put tanks and guns on the street. Undemocratic when they send in thousands of Spanish riot police."
"The right to self-determination is a fundamental human right," he went on. "And after more than 300 years of oppression, Spain cannot and will not crush the aspirations of Catalonia to restore its independence."
After Anwar's rallying speech, lawyer Ben Emmerson addressed the crowds as well. He represents seven of the nine political prisoners and is bringing their cases to the United Nations.
"I firmly believe that the UN will find that Spain has violated the political rights, not just of the prisoners themselves, but of all of you who voted for them," he said at the demonstration.
"In a democracy, it is no crime to argue for political change. In a democracy it is no crime to speak out against self-determination," he added.
"In a democracy people have the right to vote who they want," he said. "They have the right to vote, and hold a binding referendum free from violence and intimidation by the paramilitary police brutality serving the interests of Francoists, trying to force Catalans into submission."
He called on Sánchez's government to take "decisive action" right now to "free the political prisoners."