President calls on international community to help resolve political crisis
In his first Sant Jordi Day message, Quim Torra says a democratic solution is an "opportunity for democracy around the world"
President Quim Torra began Tuesday by giving his first ever Sant Jordi Day message, in which he called on the international community to help find a democratic solution to the ongoing political conflict in Catalonia.
"We once again ask for the involvement of Europe and the international community to resolve this conflict in a democratic way," said Torra, who added that resolving "the political conflict between Catalonia and Spain is an opportunity for democracy around the world."
Speaking in English, Torra argued that democracy "cannot tolerate the voice of the people being silenced with violence and threats," in reference to the response to the 2017 independence bid on behalf of the Spanish authorities.
"Democracy cannot tolerate the voice of the people being silenced with violence and threats"
Quim Torra · Catalan president
With a bunch of yellow roses behind him -yellow has become the symbol of solidarity with jailed independence leaders being tried in the Supreme Court- Torra called for "freedom" for the imprisoned and exiled leaders, and said "political trials cannot be tolerated."
After praising Sant Jordi Day as a unique "civic" festival, Torra finished by quoting poet Joan Maragall and modernist architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch to call for a "stronger" renewal in the struggle "for the return and victory of freedom."
'You're so annoying' — unionists respond to Torra's speech
Unionist parties criticized Torra for what they saw as a partisan speech that mixed the celebration of Sant Jordi with the political goals of pro-independence parties.
"You’re so annoying… even on Sant Jordi!" said Inés Arrimadas, the candidate of Ciutadans for Barcelona in the Spanish general election. "Today, Puigdemont and the secessionist candidates are not the protagonists, but books, roses, and Catalans."
The candidate of People's Party for Barcelona, Cayetana Álvarez de Toledo, dismissed Torra's address as "corny" and accused him of "contaminating" a day that "should belong to everybody."