Carles Puigdemont to speak at Derry solidarity event
Former Catalan president invited to city that holds certain parallels with Catalan territorial dispute
Carles Puigdemont will visit Derry in May this year to speak at an event aimed at showing solidarity toward the “peaceful Catalan demand for justice,” a statement from the Irish political party People Before Profit read.
The exiled leader’s visit to Derry draws certain parallels between the territorial disputes of his homeland, Catalonia, and Derry, in the statelet of Northern Ireland, which legally forms a part of the United Kingdom since the partition of the island of Ireland in 1921.
However, Irish republicans view the six counties that make up Northern Ireland as part of Ireland, and political groups such as Sinn Féin, active in both the north and south of Ireland, are working on re-unifying the island.
Carles Puigdemont was the president of Catalonia who organized the 2017 Catalan independence referendum, and is now in exile, residing in Belgium.
In May 2019, he was elected as a Member of the European Parliament (MEP), but was only recognised as a European official in January 2020.
The former president will speak at the event on May 5 “to demonstrate solidarity with Catalan cause and to demand prison terms are rescinded,” the statement follows.
Other Catalan independence leaders were jailed provisionally shortly after the failed referendum, and nine were convicted of sedition in October 2019, causing huge unrest across Catalonia.
The event and arrival of Carles Puigdemont was arranged by councillors Shaun Harkin and Eamonn McCann.
In the statement announcing the visit, the politicians called on the Spanish authorities to “end violence and criminalisation directed at the peaceful Catalan struggle for justice and immediately rescind jail sentences imposed by the Spanish Supreme Court on Catalan representatives.”
The councillors also aim at the European authorities, and urge them to put an end to their “silence and complicity with the Spanish government's violent repression, denial of democratic rights and, now, imprisonment of Catalan leaders.”
The full motion put forward by the People Before Profit party to the Derry and Strabane Council reads:
"The decision to imprison the political leadership for giving effect to the democratic will of the Catalan people will inevitably backfire on Spain. There is now only one possible route that the Catalan nation can follow. If Catalonia is to survive and to protect its institutions and culture, it must now become an independent state in the form of a republic. We will never back down."