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Criticisms of the institutions and looking for support from the public. That's the summary of the conference "Catalonia and the referendum trial: a challenge for the EU" with presidents Quim Torra and Carles Puigdemont held in a Brussels hotel today. The event was originally to be held in the European Parliament, but officials blocked it citing "security concerns".

Torra was first on the attack, accusing the president of the Parliament, Antonio Tajani, of "violating the principles of freedom of expression" and of having "turned the European Parliament into a puppet of the parties of the Spanish right and [foreign minister Josep] Borrell". The president directly claimed there is a "boycott" against Catalonia, with an event involving far-right party Vox in the Parliament being announced the very day of their blocked event. All in all, "an embarrassment", he concluded.

During his turn, Puigdemont called on all European citizens and members of Parliament. He noted that two of the defendants in the "disgraceful trial", Junqueras and Romeva, had been MEPs. He said "the time has come for the democrats of Europe to make their voices heard against intolerance", because "what is happening in Catalonia today could happen in any other place tomorrow". He implored Europe to break its silence once and for all.