Sara Prim, Barcelona.- Thousands of citizens gathered together in front of Barcelona’s Courthouse (video) to receive the Parliament’s President, Carme Forcadell. They displayed Catalan pro-independence flags and banners calling for democracy and lamenting Spanish lack of respect for the Catalan institutions. Forcadell arrived there on foot and rallied around by the Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, together with the whole Catalan executive, members from radical left pro-independence CUP and alternative left alliance ‘Catalunya Sí que es Pot’ . Hundreds of mayors from all over the territory and former outstanding politicians such as former Catalan President Artur Mas also walked next to Forcadell on her way to the Court.
“If citizens are allowed to discuss independence on the streets, the MPs should be allowed to do so in the Parliament”, Forcadell said before the Court. During her intervention, which was less than 40 minutes long, the Parliament’s President defended her decision to allow the pro-independence roadmap to be put to vote amongst the MPs.
“It is important to be here not only to support Forcadell but also to give visibility to Catalonia’s call for democracy and for our institutions to be respected”, stated Catalan Government’s Spokeswoman, Neus Munté. “Europe and the whole world are watching us; it is absolutely incomprehensible that in the 21st century and within a state which it is supposed to be democratic, political questions are responded through justice”, she added and lamented that elected representatives “have to testify before the court for defending freedom of speech, democratic debates or allowing a debate in the Parliament”.
Catalan Vice President and Minister for Economy and Tax Office, Oriol Junqueras, also joined Forcadell on her way to the Court. He assured that “the Spanish Government, governing People’s Party and all those who surround them” will put “as many strokes as possible” on Catalonia’s pro-independence aspirations. “They put obstacles to our economy and to the social rights of the Catalan people whenever we try to legislate in order to defend them”, he added. “However, and despite all of their attempts to increase difficulties we carry on”, said Junqueras and emphasised that Catalonia has overcome “worse circumstances than the current ones”.
“There is huge concern abroad regarding the democràtic standards of the Spanish State, which are now at risk”, stated Catalan Minister for Foreign Affairs, Raül Romeva. According to him, Spain “is one of the countries in the EU” where this risk is currently highest. “It’s not only us who say that, but also many people abroad are concerned”, he said.