Puigdemont’s release ‘hard blow’ to Spain, says Portugese MP

Isabel Pires, of the Leftist Block, explains to Catalan News why she signed manifesto demanding release of “political prisoners”

Isabel Pires of Portugese Leftist Block (by Isabel Pires)
Isabel Pires of Portugese Leftist Block (by Isabel Pires) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

April 6, 2018 07:10 PM

Isabel Pires of Portugal’s Leftist Block has signed a manifesto demanding the release of jailed Catalan leaders. In an interview with Catalan News, she tells us what she thinks of the ongoing situation in the country, as well as the German court’s decision to release deposed president Carles Puigdemont on bail.  

On a European level, what does the release of Puigdemont mean?

I think that with this decision in the german court, first of all, it's a very hard blow to Mariano Rajoy's government. Secondly, it's a call for EU institutions to finally say something about what's going on in Catalonia and the political prisoners being held in Catalonia. I think it's important first to pressure European institutions to have a say finally about this situation.

The Portugese parliament held an event dealing with the situation in Catalonia. What is it about?

A few weeks ago about 80 personalities from our country, politicians, deputies, academics, we joined to subscribe  to a manifesto that calls for the release of the political prisoners, and now we'll have a presentation of this manifesto and we'll have the presence of four Catalan representatives from ERC, JxCat and CUP and someone from ANC. So it's an important moment for us to publicly talk to our population and what's really going on in Catalonia.

What do people generally think about the situation, and what has the Portugese government done so far?

As far as for the government, they've done nothing so far about this situation. (A few weeks ago) we tried to pass a vote at the assemble de republique (parliament) to condemn the violence and now to condemn the existence of political prisoners, and they did not pass it in parliament. The government so far has said that it's not Portuguese government business, it's an internal Spanish affair, so they won't interfere. I think that our pressure has been important because the socialist party isdivided right now, and they're in the government, so we'll try to push harder so that these divisions will finally have consequences in government positions.

Yesterday's decision in Germany may help this. As far as our population goes, a few weeks ago we had a demonstration in front of the Spanish consulate, there was about 200 people and most of them were Portuguese. I think that Portuguese people are realizing now more than in October, for example, that we are dealing with political prisoners. For our country, we also had a hard dictatorship; symbolically it's very strong to have political prisoners, and people don't accept that. So I think that slowly we are being able to create a more aware public opinion about this issue