'We will persist despite repression': pro-referendum parties on Catalonia's National Day
Leading figures restate determination to continue political struggle for self-determination as September 11 gets underway
As Catalonia's National Day got underway on Wednesday, leading political figures in the independence movement took advantage to restate their determination to see through their objectives in the ongoing conflict with Spain.
From exile in Belgium, former president Carles Puigdemont tweeted: "Today we will once again show the world that we persist despite the repression, that we have a right to live freely and in peace, and that no one can decide our future for us."
Parliament speaker, Roger Torrent, also said that the majority in favor of independence will use September 11 to show "they do not want repression," and he predicted a National Day that "will once again be civic, peaceful and democratic."
Barcelona mayor, Ada Colau, referred to the "absent voices" of the jailed leaders, warning that it "does not help, but makes a solution to the conflict more distant," and she added that she was "delighted" that the city should host this evening's mass protest.
The Catalan government foreign minister Alfred Bosch expected today's pro-independence march to be a "massive" claim for the right to self-determination.
Freeing Catalan jailed leaders as a way out
The ERC party spokeswoman, Marta Vilalta, regretted that the National Day should be celebrated in a situation of "repression, political prisoners and exiles," and she called on the public to take to the streets to send the message "that democracy has no limits."
JxCat party MP, Albert Batet, insisted that the "repression" by Spain is not winning and he added that if the authorities in Madrid prioritize it over democracy and dialogue it will mean that Spain will have "failed" as a state.
Meanwhile, Jéssica Albiach, the parliamentary head of the CatECP party, which does not back outright independence but is in favor of a binding referendum, warned that normality "will not be possible" without freeing the Catalan leaders in prison.