Catalan president: trial 'attack on democracy and human rights'
Quim Torra asks international community to mediate in the Catalonia-Spain conflict and demands "dialogue" on self-determination to Madrid
The Catalan president, Quim Torra, attended the first day of the referendum trial and in a press conference afterward, he said the proceedings are "an attack on democracy and human rights and a shameless embarrassment for 21st century Europe.
Before scores of journalists both national and international, in Madrid, he said that "in any normal country," the arguments of the defenses to "nullify" the trial exposed in the first session would be enough to "close the file on this case."
"This 'macrocause' is political persecution," he added in English. "I demand the immediate filing of this case."
Trial "act of revenge"
"We are witnessing an act of revenge against a people who decided to decide, against a people that shielded the ballot boxes from baton blows with their own bodies to ensure a better future for themselves," he stated, referring to the Spanish police violence displayed during the referendum on October 1, 2017.
During the interview, Torra also asked for the jailed leaders to be freed, and requested international human rights experts to observe the proceedings.
The Catalan leader indeed pledged to "promote and strengthen" their initiatives to "bring the Catalan case before international bodies," which he wants to mediate in this conflict.
'No' to budget except for eleventh-hour move from Madrid
Only one day before Spain's budget is voted for consideration in the Congress, Torra called on the Spanish government to "dialogue" on self-determination.
The pro-independence parties are essential for the budget not to fail on Wednesday, but Catalonia's head of government said if there is no eleventh-hour move from Madrid on a referendum, they will vote 'no'.
In this case, the Spanish government would be on the brink of collapsing. April 14 has been rumored to be the date of a snap election.