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Catalan MEP and exiled government minister Toni Comín has said that the rally to be held on February 29th in Perpinyà, in which he will take part along with fellow pro-independence MEPs Carles Puigdemont and Clara Ponsatí, will be the beginning of their ability to "come home."

Interviewed by Northern Catalonia broadcaster Radio Arrels this Friday morning, Comín also said he was sure the event in the city just north of the French-Spanish frontier, which up to 100,000 people are expected to attend, will be held with full guarantees. The French prefecture for the Eastern Pyrenees has set a number of conditions - including respect for the principle of freedom of expression, and organization of an adequate security and mobility operation - which the organizers, the Catalan Council for the Republic, say have been met. "They are strict demands but they seem reasonable and consistent to us," said Comín.

For the exiled Catalan politician, the independence movement event in Perpinyà does not represent "full liberty" but will allow the MEPs to "come home". For Toni Comín, next Saturday 29th will mean "the beginning of the return". He said that there had been a will to annul those in exile, politically speaking, but they are returning to the Spanish border "with politics that are more alive than ever."

"A state that does not listen"

The message that the Council for the Republic wants to give in the event is fourfold, said Comín. First, the Catalan exile body wants to say thank you to Northern Catalonia. Comín said that in recent years there has been a "rediscovery of North Catalan territory" and the process to build the Catalan Republic "has strengthened the ties." The MEP recalled that it was thanks to Northern Catalonia that "the 1st October referendum was able to be held" and he also praised the management provided by the city of Perpinyà.

The second reason for the Perpinyà event will be to underscore the legal victory which the exiled Catalans have had after more than two years in exile - "and to celebrate it". As a third factor, Comín said that the Council for the Republic held that it had to work for the mandate that was given by the 1st October referendum. "Thus, the message of the event," says Comin, " is 'let's get ready to peacefully confront a state that is not listening to us'."

Finally, for Comín, the event in Perpinyà will constitute the realization that "we can return", and that "although this is not full liberty, we can stand on Catalan soil".