Camilo S. Baquero Perpiñán 29 FEB 2020
From the left, Antoni Comín, Clara Ponsatí and Carles Puigdemont, this Saturday. On video, images of Puigdemont and Torra in Perpignan. PHOTO: A. GARCIA
Mass bath of former President Carles Puigdemont this Saturday at the political event convened in Perpignan by the Consell per la República. The MEP, fled from Spanish justice, has managed to concentrate more than 100,000 people on the esplanade of the Exhibition Park, according to the calculation of the French police. The dialogue table on Catalonia opened this week between the Government and the Generalitat has been the great absentee of the ex-president’s speech, which has completely ignored it and has called for preparing “the final fight” to achieve independence. Yes, former Minister of Education Clara Ponsatí has referred to it, who has described it as a hoax. These two speeches have collided with the video sent by Oriol Junqueras, in which the ERC leader has defended the dialogue between opposite shouts from the attendees.
“We won the referendum because we organized it together. Future victories can only come if we organize territorially. It’s time to organize the final fight,” said Puigdemont, amid applause, shouts of “president” and hundreds of flags. The former president, who has chosen to wear a suit to show his more institutional facet, has not at any time referred to the dialogue table and has taken advantage of his intervention to charge against the State.
For Puigdemont, “the objective of the Catalan republic is a majority desire within society and that is why they do not let us vote. The republic is the only guarantee that an monarchical regime, heir of Francoism, can be ended. An unfair regime who has an allergy to Catalan, “said the ex-president. The “definitive mobilization”, he added, will come from the territorial organizations of the Consell de la República that will be launched in Catalonia and where “no one will spare”.
Ponsati, in her turn of speech, has charged frontally against the pro-dialogue message with the Government that Junts per Catalunya has defended in recent days. “Do not be fooled by photographs of dialogue tables that only serve to save time Pedro Sánchez.” An idea that has been received with great applause by part of the attendees. When images from the first meeting of the dialogue table were passed in the video sent by Oriol Junqueras, these criticisms of the public were also revealed.
The former Minister of Education, in fact, has ruined any attempt to approach the Spanish Government. “As long as there are independentists there will be repression, exile and repression. The history of Catalonia is not repeated by chance. In the Spanish State we will never have a place if we don’t stop being Catalans before, ”he explained.
The now MEP has also sent greetings to “the young people who are going to win the battle of Urquinaona”, in reference to those who participated in the riots after hearing the judgment of the trial process. “We are proud of you and we need you more than ever,” he said.
In his turn of speech, the former Minister of Health Toni Comín has insisted on one of his most controversial ideas: the sacrifices that the Catalans have to make if they want to be independentists. “We need to create conditions so that the confrontation with the State goes well,” he explained. “We have to bear the price of our freedom,” he concluded.
The organizers of the event have estimated that 200,000 people have moved to the esplanade of the Exhibition Park. The Directorate Départementale de la Sécurité Publique, the French police, has lowered that figure to 110,000. The Catalan National Assembly signed a total of 600 buses, but dozens of them – a hundred according to the organization – have not been able to reach the rally, due to border controls. Even the act has started an hour late, waiting for several of the vehicles to arrive. The Ministry of Interior admits to having “minimally reinforced some border units, but by the logic of citizen security in the face of the foreseeable agglomeration, in no case with the intention is to hinder” the assistance of citizens to the Perpignan act.
Honors at City Hall
The activity of Puigdemont in that French city has begun soon, with a visit to the City Hall, where he has signed the guest book of honor and has been received by the mayor, Jean-Marc Pujol. “Whenever the Catalans have needed help and solidarity, we have sought a light beyond the darkness that has persecuted us for centuries, we have found it in Perpignan,” said the MEP. The act has provoked some debate, since France is in the midst of the municipal elections campaign. However, the differences are not so much that Puigdemont is in the city, but the moment he has chosen to do so. The Elysium has been unmarked from the reception offered by the candidate for the re-election of the City Council by the party of Emmanuel Macron.
Pujol has said that his city is “land of exile” and has ensured that the act is welcomed as a sign of respect “for the right to freedom of expression.” The mayor thanked Puigdemont to see his city as a land of solidarity and told him that he will take it into account so that “Northern Catalonia, when looking at the southern one, can find it greatly increased.”
For his part, Torra thanked the reception of the local authorities and assured that the rally is “a reunion between the two Catalonias, separated by a line, but it has been seen that the Pyrenees does not separate anything, it unites everything: two lands Catalan, twinned and supportive “.
Puigdemont, who arrived in Perpignan Friday, wrote on Twitter that “he was returning to Catalonia.” The streets of the capital of what the independents call “Catalunya Nord” woke up very early with the arrival of thousands of Catalans, who entered long caravans from the first hours of the day.
Despite massive assistance, independence comes divided to this event. Esquerra’s delegation is limited to the spokeswoman in the Parliament, Anna Caula, and the leader in the Barcelona City Council, Ernest Maragall. They are not expected to speak during the act. The CUP refused to participate yesterday because it is considered a “partisan” act.
Maragall, upon arrival at the esplanade of the Exhibition Park, has removed iron from the lack of presence of his party at the event, which contrasts with the immense deployment of Junts per Catalunya. All the deputies of the formation of Puigdemont and the high positions have moved to Perpignan. “Those who should be here are not: Oriol Junqueras, Marta Rovira, Raül Romeva, Carme Forcadell and Dolors Bassa,” Maragall said in reference to the politicians of his party who are in prison, serving the sentence for the trial of procés or escaped from Spanish justice.
Albert Batet, the president of Junts in the Parliament, thanked the French authorities and the volunteers who made the event possible. “This act shows that the strategy of success is perseverance,” he said in reference to the judicial struggle of Puigdemont and MEPs Toni Comín and Clara Ponsatí. The neoconvergent has also made a nth call to independentism unit.
The Catalan National Assembly and Òmnium also participate in the event. The president of the ANC, Elisenda Paluzie, has assured that it is an act “to celebrate a victory”, also referring to the status of MEPs of the escaped. “Spaces like this are necessary for the independence movement to recharge batteries, but we hope that this energy will lead to the citizen empowerment we need,” he said. The spokesman of Òmnium, Marcel Mauri, has assured that this act demonstrates that “there is no justice in the Spanish State”, because despite Europarliamentary immunity, Puigdemont cannot enter Spanish territory.