The president of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC), Elisenda Paluzie, has sent a clear message to the head of the Catalan government, Pere Aragonès, from the lecturn at today's massive pro-independence demonstration for the Diada, the national day. Echoing the now-famous "President, put out the ballot boxes" of the former ANC leader and later speaker of parliament, Carme Forcadell, Paluzie has adapted it to the current situation: "President, make independence happen".
Forcadell made her demand in 2014, requesting the then-president of the Catalan Generalitat, Artur Mas, to call a vote for later that year - which eventually did happen, although the vote was unofficial. The Spanish did not send in the police as on 1st October, 2017, but nevertheless, Mas, and two other ministers, vice president Joana Ortega and education minister Irene Rigau, ended up fined and banned from seeking political office.
The president of the ANC, Catalonia's largest pro-independence NGO, demanded that the pro-independence forces take advantage of the 52% majority of the popular vote that they won in this year's elections and, although she did not explicitly mention the government-to-government dialogue table, which is scheduled to meet next week, she urged the Catalan president to rule out a pact with the Spanish state.
“Concessions will never come from the state because they understand them as a symptom of weakness and take advantage of [such situations] to weaken us,” she warned. Paluzie thus asked the government of Pere Aragonès to promote "its own project based on self-determination."
Response to Salvador Illa
In response to provocative statements made by the Socialist leader Salvador Illa in the Catalan Parliament, in which he claimed that the ten years of the independence process have been "the worst in the last 300 years", Paluzie asserted that the 1st October referendum was the most important "action" of the last three centuries. And the ANC leader took the opportunity to note that independence is about "rights and actions".
Paluzie also celebrated the release of the nine Catalan political prisoners, pardoned by the Spanish government, but recalled that "we want the freedom of our people" and praised the work of the politicians in exile, protesting about the fact that they have not yet been able to step foot on Catalan territory. The crowd responded with shouts of "Puigdemont, our president."
The return of Cuixart
Jordi Cuixart, who had not attended the Diada in four years due to his imprisonment, was loudly applauded during his speech and he stated his gratitude for the resilience of the movement in the face of the repression.
The Omnium president called on Catalan politicians to "rise to the task" and warned that "we will not allow them to squander" the strength of the movement. He also issued a warning to the state: "We neither are able to nor want to renounce Catalonia's civil and political rights!"
Finally, he condemned the state's repression and pointed out that the only blockage to Catalan independence "is violence", in a call to the public to keep up the struggle. "We can do it again because we have enormous power. Non-violent struggle and civil disobedience are key to transforming society," he claimed.