ANC’s president meets French MPs who urge the Spanish State, and ask the EU, for dialogue and freedom of Catalan political prisoners

Yesterday the President of the Assemblea Nacional Catalana (ANC), Elisenda Paluzie, met a number of European MPs and politicians in Paris. She took the opportunity to outline the current situation in Catalonia, placing particular emphasis on the political and judicial repression exerted by the Spanish State. She gave two examples. On the one hand, she pointed out that her two predecessors as President, Carme Forcadell and Jordi Sànchez, are both in prison. On the other, she highlighted the bail of over 2 million euros which the Spanish Supreme Court judge Pablo Llarena had imposed on the 14 ex-members of the Catalan Government who stand accused of misuse of public funds for the referendum on 1 October to cover their potential civil liability.

In particular, the President praised the solidarity shown by the people, who, over a single weekend, donated around 900 000 euros to pay the bail, but also the persistence of the public, who have been mobilizing continuously and tirelessly since the first political prisoners were seized.

Despite the repression, Paluzie made it clear that the ANC will not waver in its objective and will continue working to implement the mandate given by the referendum and, thus, for independence for Catalonia.

Next, Ignasi Fortuny from the ANC – speaking on behalf of the 86 elected representatives from Northern (French) Catalonia who have called on French institutions to show solidarity with Catalonia – explained the important role which this region had played in making the referendum a success, by taking on the task of transporting, concealing and distributing the ballot boxes.

Solidarity with the Catalan people

This event, organized by Jean-Félix Acquaviva, a Corsican Member of the French Parliament, served to present the EU-Catalonia Dialogue Platform (President: Ivo Vajgl), in which Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from different countries and parties have joined forces to promote dialogue between Catalonia and Spain and demand democratic resolution of the conflict.

The gathering was attended by MPs from Corsica and Brittany from Régions et Peuples Solidaires (RPS), La République en Marche and the Green Party. All of them wanted to show their solidarity with the Catalan people and regarded the repression it was suffering as unacceptable. For example, Jean-Félix Acquaviva described it as a “serious” breach of the people’s right to self-determination and of the most fundamental democratic rights in France and the European Union.

Martine Wonner, representing La République en Marche, the political movement led by the French President, Emmanuel Macron, called the existence of political prisoners and exiles “inadmissible”. She expressed her support for them and defended the freedom of expression. Beyond that, she called on Europe to intervene, out of solidarity, and said that she would make every effort to convey that message to the French Prime Minister, Édouard Philippe.

The Slovenian MEP Ivo Vajgl reaffirmed the right of peoples to decide their future and described the repression during the referendum as an example of something that cannot be allowed to happen in a democracy. He demanded freedom for his jailed colleagues and called on the Spanish Government to pick up the telephone and ask the judges to release them.

Other participants included François Alfonsi, from the Corsican Solidarity Committee, the MEP José Bové, who spoke via videoconference, Mark Demesmaeker, the Flemish MEP, Pèire Costa, from the Collectif varois de solidarité avec le peuple catalan, Paul Molac, from Régions et Peuples Solidaires, representatives of the ANC in France and Jordi Solé, the MEP representing Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya, who regretted that the European Union was ignoring the demands made by Catalonia and thanked those who had raised their voices to support it.