The Catalan politicians exiled in Belgium have taken part in an event in Brussels to show solidarity with their pro-independence colleagues who are in jail or otherwise deprived of their freedom. Along with several European political representatives and dozens of supporters, they debated on the state of European democracy, the struggle they share and the "anachronism of the Spanish institutions" - as well as joining in a meal.
The "Yellow Lunch" event in the Belgian capital, organized by the local branch of the pro-independence group ANC and the Catalan Association for Civil Rights, was attended by president Carles Puigdemont as well as his ex-ministers Toni Comín, Lluís Puig and Meritxell Serret. Also present were Adrià Carrasco, exiled member of a CDR protest group who is accused of terrorism; Laura Masvidal, partner of jailed Catalan minister Joaquim Forn; along with MEPs and members of Flemish groups who have taken a stand in favour of Catalonia's right to decide.
Lunch was preceded by an aperitif at 12.30pm. "Every yellow lunch, every encounter, is a vitamin - especially for the prisoners", said exiled president Puigdemont.
Això no va només d’independència, també va de Drets fonamentals a Catalunya i a Europa, ha dit el president @KRLS . Calen moltes Catalunyes a Europa— ANCBrussel·les🎗🇧🇪 (@AncBru) 6 d’abril de 2019
"This is not just about independence, it is also about fundamental rights in Catalonia and Europe, said president @KRLS. Europe needs lots of Catalonias"— ANCBrussel·les
After lunch, Joaquim Forn's partner Laura Masvidal told guests that the current Supreme Court trial and the need for exile show up the "anachronism of the Spanish institutions". "Our struggle comes from all the previous struggles," she said, calling for unity "to build a Europe that is everyone's."
Then it was the turn of Adrià Carrasco, who told his story to the international gathering. On April 10th, 2018 - just on a year ago - the young activist fled from Spain's Civil Guard when they went to his home to take him into custody. He is accused of terrorism, for having opened a motorway toll barrier during the protests last Easter.
In fact, today, in Carrasco's Catalan municipality of Esplugues, near Barcelona, a rally was held to reclaim freedoms, and it included a live video link with Adrià at the Brussels event.
New Flemish Alliance MEP Mark Demesmaeker also spoke, opening up the question of the future that Europeans want in their continent, "a Europe of big states or one of fundamental rights and democracy?"
What kind of Europe do we want? The Europe of big States or the Europe of Fundamental Rights and Democracy? Luckily, The group of MEPs committed to the cause of Democracy is growing, says @markdemesmaeker . From left to right @EUCat_Dialogue for a Europe of citizens pic.twitter.com/BqMFaIBgOZ— ANCBrussel·les🎗🇧🇪 (@AncBru) 6 d’abril de 2019
Local Flemish groups showed their solidarity with the situation of the Catalan politicians and donated to the fighting fund.
Moltes gràcies al Grup Lliure d'Overijse per la seva donació. La solidaritat amb Catalunya trenca fronteres. pic.twitter.com/Hjn9qa2Xak— Ass. Catalana pels Drets Civils (@ACDretsCivils) 6 d’abril de 2019
These organizations expressed the view that "Catalonia is a symbol and scenario of the struggle between democracy and authoritarianism in the European Union".