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"The king's speech protects the actions and attacks against independence supporters", said Catalan vice-president and economy minister Pere Aragonès this Wednesday. Recent months have seen a series of attacks against politicians, journalists and members of the public around the country. "We will continue to express ourselves in public spaces, demanding silence in public spaces is characteristic of totalitarian states," he continued. The vice-president made the comments during an interview on El matí de Catalunya Ràdio. He was responding to statements made yesterday by the leader of right-wing party Ciudadanos, Albert Rivera, calling on his party's supporters to remove yellow loops and other symbols from public spaces.

Aragonès denounced Rivera's comment: "We already know that they like to take ownership of the state, but to what extent?". Early this morning, a group of people with covered faces and knives went around the town of Verges removing estelades, "starred" pro-independence flags. "But who did they think they are?", the vice-president asked.

On the king

Asked his opinion of the king attending or not the commemoration of the first anniversary of the attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils, the minister said: "What the monarchy does or doesn't do matters very little to me, but we're prepared to talk to everyone". He also noted that one of the first posters he hung up as a youth member of ERC said "We Catalans have no king". The Catalan president, Quim Torra, made similar comments himself in an interview yesterday, when he said: "It's never too late to say sorry, but he's no longer king of the Catalans".

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