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Activist Cuixart in court: 'The right to vote in Catalonia is achieved by voting'

Pro-independence civic organization Òmnium's head defends call for "democratic tsunami" in court


26 February 2019 10:43 AM


ACN | Madrid
Activist Jordi Cuixart defended the "right to vote" in the Supreme Court on Tuesday, as week three of the trial of Catalan independence leaders got underway in Madrid.

"The right to vote in Catalonia is achieved by voting," the head of the Òmnium civic organization told the court, adding: "What we did on October 1 [holding the referendum] was an exercise of collective dignity."

Charged with rebellion, Cuixart is the 11th defendant to take the stand in the trial, and precedes the former parliament speaker, Carme Forcadell, who will bring the testimonies of the prosecuted leaders to an end.

In his testimony on Tuesday, Cuixart also made a defense of democracy, telling the prosecutor: "Criticize me for wanting a 'democratic tsunami'… We want more democracy, for citizens to be heard, not only for Catalonia, but for Spain."

"Democratic values are above the rule of law. It is an obligation of citizens to defend them."

Cuixart's priority, "denouncing rights" and "solving conflict"

Duing the cross-examination, Cuixart also said: "My priority is not leaving prison, but denouncing the violation of rights and freedoms in Catalonia and Spain," adding that "solving the ongoing conflict" is also among his priorities. 

October 1 referendum, "the biggest exercise of civil disobedience in Europe"

The independence referendum "was an exercise of civil disobedience, which is not punishable with 500 days of pre-trial jail or a 17-year prison sentence," said Jordi Cuixart on the October 1 vote, suspended by Spain. "Civil disobedience is a tool for societies to move forward socially."

"All Spaniards should be proud of the October 1 referendum, the biggest exercise of civil disobedience in Europe".

"The pain that we feel towards the disproportionate [Spanish police] violence on October 1, 2017 will last generations," he added. Some 1,000 people were injured as a result of the law enforcement operation, according to the Catalan health department. 

  • "What we did on October 1 [holding the referendum] was an exercise of collective dignity"

    Jordi Cuixart · Grassroots organization Òmnium's president

In fact, Cuixart went further, arguing that defending democracy is more important than complying with the law: "Democratic values are above the rule of law. It is an obligation of citizens to defend them," he told the court.

September 20, 2017 protests

Alongside Jordi Sànchez, Cuixart led a protest outside the Catalan economy department on September 20, 2017, as a response to Spanish police raids of official buildings aimed at halting the organization of the referendum.

On Tuesday, the Òmnium head defended the protests, over which he was remanded in custody for almost 500 days, saying "[the September 20 raids] saw the response of any society whose institutions were being attacked."

Cuixart added that the "September 20, 2017 protests were the spontaneous reaction of the people," and that "since 2010, we have been asking politicians to listen to the will of the citizens." He said the protests that day were peaceful. 

The leader of Òmnium also expressed disagreement at some questions on the rally. "The prosecutor is questioning the right to protest."

"No court ever told citizens not to take part in any mobilization," he added.

Forcadell next

He was the eleventh defendant to take the stand, and will precede the former parlament speaker, Carme Forcadell, who will put to an end the testimonies of the prosecuted leaders from 4pm on Tuesday.

Cuixart was the president of the pro-independence civic organization Òmnium during the 2017 peak of the Catalonia-Spain conflict, and he is still leading the association.