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The counter on the Council for the Republic website has surged from 40,000 registrations to more than 45,000 in less than 24 hours. This rise of 5,000 new sign-ups coincides with Saturday's Brussels presentation of the Council, an organisation to advocate for the Catalan republic in exile.

To be exact, by Sunday evening, a total of 45,128 people had registered with the Council for the Republic. The body was inaugurated on Saturday with a launch ceremony featuring Catalan president Quim Torra and president in exile Carles Puigdemont. Audience expectation in the EU capital was such that two sessions of the presentation had to be held.

A broad representation of the current Catalan government was present at the ceremony, including vice president Pere Aragonès and representatives of the parliamentary groups JxCat and ERC. Key civil society representatives were also there: the vice-president of Omnium, Marcel Mauri, and the president of the ANC, Elisenda Paluzie. Exiled ministers Clara Ponsatí and Toni Comín also spoke at the ceremony and a letter from jailed former parliamentary speaker Carme Forcadell was read.

The event was followed in Brussels on Saturday by the CityZen festival, a 12 hour music marathon and cultural festival with a strong Catalan flavour and a focus on civil rights, at which several Catalan groups performed.

The executive commission of the Council for the Republic

The executive committee of the Council for the Republic consists of Carles Puigdemont and Quim Torra, along with the Catalan ministers in exile Comín, Ponsatí and Puig; the president of the ANC, Elisenda Paluzie, the leader of the Demòcrates party, Toni Castellà, lawyer Neus Tobisco-Casalas, and Meritxell Budó.