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'They will not give up': Politicians react to jailed leaders registering as MPs

Five jailed Catalan leaders collected their papers for becoming MPs on Monday

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20 May 2019 01:50 PM

by

Daniel Wittenberg | Barcelona

Former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont has praised the pro-independence politicians who temporarily left prison to collect their parliamentary passes in Madrid on Monday for "going into the Spanish parliament, elected to defend the same ideals that brought them behind bars".

Exiled leader Puigdemont, four of whose ministers, including his vice-president Oriol Junqueras, are among the newly-elected MPs and senators who will take their seats on Tuesday, reiterated his belief that the spectacle of politicians entering the chambers from the back of a police van, under vigilance for the length of the process, was proof that they are "political prisoners".

"An embarrassment to some and an immense credit to you, friends," he wrote on Twitter.

Laura Borràs, a Junts per Catalunya MP who greeted her colleagues in Congress, described its three imprisoned members as "determined" and vowed "they will not give up on anything."

The Catalan parliament speaker Roger Torrent expressed his "emotion" at seeing a "giant" like Raül Romeva entering the Senate and his "shame" for the manner in which it took place.

Meanwhile, former French prime minister Manuel Valls, running for Mayor of Barcelona on Sunday with the support of staunch unionist party Ciutadans, emphasized that the restricted registration process for the five rebellion suspects was "completely in line with the law".

Valls added that in allowing the jailed Catalan leaders to take part in the opening events of the new parliament, Spain's courts had "set an example" and demonstrated their impartiality.

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  • Oriol Junqueras enters parliament accompanied by fellow Esquerra MP Gabriel Rufián

  • Oriol Junqueras enters parliament accompanied by fellow Esquerra MP Gabriel Rufián

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