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November 9 is "using freedom of expression" to say "we are looking for a new relationship" with Spain

The President of the civil society association Òmnium Cultural, Muriel Casals, stated that "the mere fact of going with a ballot to the polling station" is "already a success" and will show that "the Catalans' tenacity is stronger that the Spanish State's repression". In an interview with the CNA, Casals stated that "the Spanish democracy has an important failure" as it does not allow "Catalans to vote on our future". Therefore November 9's citizen participation process "is a first step towards using freedom of expression […] to say what we are saying: we are looking for a new relationship" with Spain. The President of one of the grass-roots associations that organised the 3 massive pro-independence demonstrations in 2012, 2013 and 2014 complained that Catalans "have not been recognised as a people with our own culture, with our own language, with our own economic needs, by the different Spanish Governments". Therefore "the best thing" is "to become a new state in Europe", she concluded.

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06 November 2014 09:00 PM

by

ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- The President of the civil society association Òmnium Cultural, Muriel Casals, stated that "the mere fact of going with a ballot to the polling station" is "already a success" and will show that "the Catalans' tenacity is stronger that the Spanish State's repression". In an interview with the CNA, Casals stated that "the Spanish democracy has an important failure" as it does not allow "Catalans to vote on our future". Therefore November 9's citizen participation process "is a first step towards using freedom of expression […] to say what we are saying: we are looking for a new relationship" with Spain. "We want to vote to decide which kind of relationship we want to have with the Spanish people", emphasised the President of one of the grass-roots associations that organised the 3 massive pro-independence demonstrations in 2012, 2013 and 2014. Casals complained that Catalans "have not been recognised as a people with our own culture, with our own language, with our own economic needs, by the different Spanish Governments" and therefore they have "realised that the best thing for us is to become a new state in Europe". However, she stressed that "we have nothing against the Spanish people" and that pro-independence supporters want "this new relationship [with Spain] to be friendly". Òmnium Cultural was founded in 1961 to promote Catalan culture and language in the time of Franco's dictatorship, when it was banned and persecuted. Nowadays it has more than 42,000 members and does not receive any public funding.


In the last few days before November's 9 alternative vote, Casals called on Catalans to participate in Sunday's citizen participation process. She is positive that there will be ballot boxes on that day and citizens will be able to cast their ballot, despite the Constitutional Court's temporary suspension. The President of Òmnium Cultural considered such a vote to be "a proof of strength" of those supporting Catalonia's self-determination.  The mere fact of going with a ballot to the polling station" is "already a success" since this is the image the Spanish Government wanted to avoid. However, such an image will show that "the Catalans' tenacity is stronger that the Spanish State's repression", she added. November 9's process is for Casals "a first step towards using the freedom of expression by the Catalan people to say what we are saying: we are looking for a new relationship" with Spain.

The Spanish Government cannot take the ballot boxes away

In fact, Casals does not believe that the Spanish Government will be able to take away the ballot boxes or stop people from accessing the polling stations. "The Spanish Government could do many things to stop" Catalans from voting, "but there are certain things that a government that is member of a club of democratic countries, such as the European Union, cannot do", she added. However, she warned that the image of the Spanish Police preventing people from voting would be "lethal" for the Spanish State.

November 9's citizen participation process will be "a communion between our political representatives and the civil society", she highlighted. Casals stressed that the fact that this alternative vote has been organised by the Catalan Government itself represents a great added value compared to previous citizen mobilisations for self-determination, such as the citizen votes that took place between 2009 and 2011.

Firstly, November 9; secondly, early elections; and lastly, a referendum

However, she insisted that after November 9, early elections to the Catalan Parliament are likely to come. If parties clearly supporting independence won those elections, "this pro-independence majority would have the authority to start the process and tell the world that we are starting the process towards forming a new state". However, November 9 and those early elections would not be enough, according to Casals, and "it is very likely" that "a referendum would be needed to have full international recognition".

Casals explained to a foreign audience why Catalans want to vote on self-determination and obtain independence from Spain. "We are a part of the Spanish State but we have not been recognised as a people with our own culture, with our own language, with our own economic needs, by the different Spanish Governments", she said. "We want to vote to decide which kind of relationship we actually want to have with the Spanish people" added Casals. "We are living in a democracy but the Spanish democracy has an important failure in that they don't want us Catalans voting on our future". Therefore, according to her, a wide number of Catalans have "realised that the best thing for us is to become a new state in Europe".

A new European State

Pro-independence supporters want an independent Catalan State within the European Union, stressed Casals. "We agree to be part of the European Union with all the limitations regarding sovereignty that it implies but we think we will be better off, better in any sense, if we are no longer a part of the Spanish State", she stated. In order to decided whether to become independent or not, Catalans are asking for "a referendum – which is not the one we are going to have on November 9", she immediately added. "[We want] a real referendum to say, to express in a free way if we want to be part of the Spanish State or not " but "the Spanish Government keeps saying 'you are not allowed to vote, you are not allowed to vote'", explained the President of Òmnium Cultural. Because of these demands and the Spanish Government's blocking attitude, "the Catalan Government organised this consultation in the form of civic participation on next Sunday", Casals concluded.

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  • Muriel Casals during the ACN interview (by B. Fuentes)

  • Muriel Casals during the ACN interview (by B. Fuentes)

  • Muriel Casals during the ACN interview (by B. Fuentes)
  • Muriel Casals during the ACN interview (by B. Fuentes)
Muriel Casals, interviewed by CNA (by ACN)