Manifesto signed by 25,000 calls on Europe to act
Pro-independence activists in Brussels hand over petition demanding EU work for “release of the political prisoners”
Representatives from a pro-independence pressure group handed over a petition with 25,000 signatures to the European Parliament on Thursday. The manifesto delivered by members of the Committees for the Defense of the Republic (CDR, in Catalan) calls on the EU to act to achieve “the release of the political prisoners.”
Eight Catalan ministers were jailed at the beginning of November for their role in the independence process. Although six have since been released, two others -the former vice president Oriol Junqueras and dismissed interior minister Joaquim Forn - remain in custody. Two civil pro-independence leaders are also still being held in prison while pending trial.
The CDR activists handed over their petition to the European authorities in Brussels at the same time as a large demonstration was taking place in the Belgian city calling for the release of the remaining prisoners. The manifesto alleges that the Spanish government is violating fundamental rights in Catalonia.
50,000 Catalans in Brussels
The petition was handed over to the European Parliament by the Catalan MEPs, Ramon Tremosa (PDeCat), Jordi Solé (ERC) and Josep Maria Terricabras (ERC). “We are taking advantage of 50,000 Catalans coming here today to Brussels, in the heart of Europe, to denounce the imprisonments and hand over the signatures,” said the CDR’s Neus Ibáñez.
The text signed by 25,000 people calls on the EU to “take all the decisions necessary and within its power to ensure the release of the political prisoners.” The text also asks the EU to demand explanations from the Spanish state about “the disproportionate use of force” by police during the October 1 referendum, as well as its “authoritarian and repressive” attitude.
“Historic day” for Catalan self-determination
Republican MEP, Jordi Solé, insisted that Thursday will be seen as an “historic” day for the Catalan self-determination movement and he praised the thousands who had made the 1,300-kilometer trip to tell Europe “to wake up once and for all and devote itself to defending the rights of all European citizens, including the Catalan public.”
Meanwhile, PDeCat MEP, Ramon Tremosa, remarked on the “festive” and “peaceful” nature of the demonstration in Brussels and said he hoped that the December 21 Catalan election would produce a majority that “will allow the return of the legitimate government and above all the release of prisoners unjustly held in detention.”