Despite Manuel Valls' attempts yesterday to not be photographed alongside the far right in Madrid, he knows the images now exist and that they've been published both in Spain and abroad. International media, especially in France where he was prime minister 2014-16, has reported on his attendance at yesterday's protest in the Spanish capital, a protest also supported by far-right party Vox.
En Espagne, Manuel Valls défile avec la droite et l'extrême droite contre le gouvernement socialiste pic.twitter.com/MNdsCwmMQH— BFMTV (@BFMTV) 11 février 2019
Translation: In Spain, Manuel Valls marches with the right and far right against the Socialist government.
This Monday, Valls, now candidate for mayor of Barcelona, has written a letter to the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, trying to turn the narrative on its head. In it, he accuses the independence movement of being "racist, populist, totalitarian and nationalist". This, just hours after he marched under one of the world's largest Spanish flags with Vox.
In the letter, the politician, currently standing for mayor of Barcelona, describes his "concern over the use Catalan nationalism and populism will make of the trial" of pro-independence leaders, set to start tomorrow. He says that pretrial detention is "based on the flight risk [they pose] and the risk they offend again", that "the separatist movement makes totalitarian proclamations" like "els carrers seran sempre nostres" ("the streets will always be ours"), and that the movement's leaders "dressed up as pacifists and negotiators but support the imposition of populist ideas and receive the support and understanding of xenophobes, people convicted of terrorist acts and the far right around Europe".
Valls describes the independence push as an "attack on Europe" and a conjunt "lies" to discredit Spanish democracy. He says that the current Spain with king Felipe VI and the '78 Constitution "has nothing to do... with the old dictatorship". The king's father, Juan Carlos I, was appointed by Franco as his successor.