Hundreds of thousands of Catalans rallied on Saturday, denouncing the illegal imprisonment of the republic’s officials, demanding their release.
According to local police, around 750,000 participated under the slogan “Libertat presos politics, some republica (Freedom for political prisoners, we are the republic).”
Family members of imprisoned ministers and others currently in Brussels led a march, beginning on Marina Avenue, up Pujades Street to Icaria Avenue, close to Catalonia’s parliament – many wearing yellow ribbons, signifying support for their jailed officials. Their photos, Catalan flags, and other banners were publicly displayed.
The rally was organized by the pro-independence Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and Omnium Cultural – their leaders, Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart, illegally jailed by Madrid fascists on charges of sedition, rebellion and misuse of public funds, the same charges levied against jailed Catalan officials.
Their family members addressed the rally, reading letters from their imprisoned relatives. Their video messages were publicly shown.
From Brussels, illegally deposed Catalan President Carles Puigdement delivered a message, saying neither “bars nor exile” can dissuade Catalans from “wanting to make possible what the majority of people can do around the world, which is freely decide their future, and to do so at the ballot box.”
He urged demonstrators to be “a united call, loud and clear” for “freedom and democracy,” adding:
“We have to once again make ourselves heard, so that the world hears these plural voices.”
“This cannot continue in the European Union. Not with violence, not with repression, not with prosecutors, not with judges, not with authoritarian or imposed governments, but rather through the ballot box.”
He blasted the EU, calling it a “caricature of what Europe is and of what we want Europe to be,” adding, there is “no will to help solve the politics of the conflict.”
He called on democrats worldwide to support Catalans in their liberating struggle, urged EU officials to stop “looking the other way.”
During the rally, he tweeted: “Your light reaches us in Brussels and illuminates the path we must keep following.”
Illegally arrested and jailed Catalan Vice President Oriol Junqueras delivered a message, saying he was imprisoned by the “heirs of the Franco regime, adding:
“Our dreams are their nightmares. Winter will lead to spring.”
One Saturday Catalan demonstrator spoke for many others, saying the October 27 declaration of independence was symbolic. We now want the real thing.
“Look at all the people here. The independence movement is still going strong.” Madrid “better understand that we’re not faking.”