They have no finalised road map, but they won't accept anyone giving up. President Quim Torra has this evening explained his proposals to realise the Catalan republic from the stage of the National Theatre of Catalonia. The president defended last year's referendum and the mandate it gave, without renouncing dialogue. He also warned that he won't accept any sentence against the political prisoners other than full acquittal. "This proposal I'm making today to the people of Catalonia has a very simple motto: either liberty or liberty", he said to applause from a packed, expectant theatre.
Torra wove together a speech of protest in which he denounced the Spanish state's violence and repression and called for mobilisation, consensus and broad appeal from the independence movement. "We cannot be spectators to injustice. Let's not be scared of being human, in other words, let's not be scared of being free", he said.
The president also had a message for the Spanish prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, whom he warned that "the mandate from 1st October [2017, the referendum] is in force and only a binding, negotiated and internationally recognised referendum can renew that mandate". He urged the Spanish government to negotiate "solemnly": "it's in the hands of the new governors of the Spanish state to stop committing the same mistakes as Rajoy's government did".
"Today, everyone has already put their cards on the table, we already know how far the Spanish state is willing to go when we undertake the path of self-determination. We'll only have that which we are able to earn", he said, paraphrasing the famous engineer and linguist Pompeu Fabra.
The speech was repeatedly interrupted by applause from those present who included the Catalan government, headed by the vice-president, and broad representation for the pro-independence parties. Also in the theatre were representatives from PSC and Comuns.
Torra organised the speech in response to criticism his government has lacked direction since he was invested president following the blocked candidacies of Carles Puigdemont, Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Turull.