16th February 2019
Quim Torra
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Quim Torra insists on referendum

In a key speech made on Tuesday night, Catalan President Quim Torra called on the Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez to agree to a referendum ‘without threats, without violence, without fear, without a dirty war’.

In order to do that, he urged ‘bilateral dialogue’ with Sánchez’s executive, but made clear he would not give up his plans.

Quim Torra
Quim Torra, Catalan President, at the “Our Moment” conference on 4 September 2018 (ACN)

‘We’ll listen to everyone but we won’t give up on the right to self-determination,’ he pledged.

Mobilization for civil rights

In a conference kicking off what is set to be another heated autumn in Catalan politics, the president also called on citizens to mobilize in order to defend ‘civil and national rights’ until there is a definitive decision on the trial against pro-independence leaders.

‘A march that begins tomorrow, and ends on the day of the sentences against the political prisoners,’ he said.

ALSO READ: Spanish PM proposes referendum on greater autonomy for Catalonia

Verdict on prosecuted leaders

‘I can’t accept any verdict [for prosecuted political leaders] which isn’t absolution,’ he said at the Auditorium in Barcelona at the ‘Our Moment’ conference. ‘We will not resign ourselves to unjust sentences that would only bring more pain and conflict.’

‘Either freedom or freedom,’ Torra said.

Yet Torra did not unveil how he would reject the potential verdict. Instead, he said he would decide what steps to take along with the government and parliament.

Social laws

The Catalan president also committed to ‘make effective’ 14 social laws suspended by the Spanish Constitutional Court over the past few years.

Exiled leaders

Concerning the role of the exiled leaders, Torra said a Council for the Republic led by former president Puigdemont will be formed shortly in order for the independence movement to go international.

‘Here no-one has absconded from justice, we have had to find it abroad,’ said the Catalan leader. ‘In no democracy should a vote be called a crime, and this idea is stronger with the judicial rulings taken by German and Italian courts, and with the international treaties of Human Rights and Peoples.’

ALSO READ: Torra and Puigdemont warn of ‘fueling confrontation’

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