'We won the right to independence' ANC head tells National Day protesters
Òmnium pays tribute to jailed president, while mother of exiled activist remains defiant
"In the October 1 referendum we won the right to independence," Elisenda Paluzie, the head of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) told the thousands taking part in the self-determination demonstration in Barcelona on Tuesday, Catalonia's National Day.
"We showed that our political project is radically democratic," continued the head of the pro-independence organization behind the protest attended by around a million people demanding the right to decide the country's political future.
Saying that the independence movement is at a "crossroads," Paluzie was defiant. "We are capable of beating this authoritarian state," she said about the Spanish authorities, and she predicted that with "calm and persistent" struggle "we will bring about the Catalan Republic."
329 days in prison
The other grassroots organization behind the September 11 demonstration is Òmnium Cultural, and its spokesman, Marcel Mauri, also addressed the crowd, saying he spoke for Òmniun president, Jordi Cuixart, who has been "imprisoned for 329 days."
With the political leaders in jail or exile a major focus of the demonstration, Mauri said that "neither prison, nor exile, nor their violence are any sort of limit for us. Democracy does not understand limits. We will not put limits on freedom and democracy," he said.
Yet Mauri also had a prediction for the crowd, telling those present that the road to independence will be a long one. "This will not be quick or easy. But we will work tirelessly to attain the Republic for everyone," he pledged.
"Adri, they have not defeated us"
Also addressing the crowd was the mother of Adrià Carrasco, a pro-independence activist wanted on terrorism charges by the Spanish judiciary, but who sought refuge in Belgium. "We put up with the pain and face the fears," said Núria Tarrés, who assured her son, "Adri, they have not defeated us."
"They accuse him of terrorism for peacefully defending what all of us here today defend: justice, freedom, the Republic and independence," said Tarrés, while a representative for the CDR group Carrasco is a member of added: "We voted and we won: make the Catalan Republic a reality."