Catalan president Carles Puigdemont today reflected on the relationship between law and legitimacy when laying a floral tribute at the grave of his 1930s predecessor, Lluís Companys. "They murdered him in the name of the prevailing political order and legality", said Puigdemont, speaking on the 77th anniversary of the execution of ex-president Companys by a Francoist firing squad in 1940. Puigdemont described Companys as "a victim of a very unequal struggle between democratic legitimacy and the vileness of Franco's regime".
Puigdemont launched a strong attack on the Partido Popular and Citizens party for using the murder of Companys to political advantage, while at the same time, as the president put it, these two parties continue "to march in demonstrations side by side with companions who give raised-arm salutes".
"Difficult and hopeful" moment
Puigdemont made a brief speech directed at the Catalan public, at a moment that he considers "difficult and at the same time hopeful", calling for a rejection of the line marked out by the Spanish government. "Against violence, we assert public spiritedness; against threats and fear, hope; against those who try to provoke us, serenity; against insults, respect," he affirmed in a brief speech.
Puigdemont also had words to say against the attacks made on the Catalan educational model by the Partido Popular and Citizens party in recent days. He spoke up for the "dignity" of teaching professionals in the face of what he sees as a "contemptible" attitude from certain Spanish political figures.
The president reiterated his "commitment" to "peace and democracy" in the floral tribute made at ex-president Companys's grave, in Barcelona's Montjuïc cemetery. Puigdemont asked the public not to fall into the trap set by the Spanish government for the deadline coming up on Monday, which is the time limit set by Spanish PM Rajoy to clarify the Catalan position on its independence status.
Puigdemont made a call for peace in the face of the Spanish government's attitude, reiterating his "commitment" to a pacifist stand against the state's "violence, aggression and imposition". Accompanying Puigdemont at Monjuïc was vice president Junqueras and a large representation of Catalan cabinet ministers.
Resignation of Casado
Barcelona mayor Ada Colau also spoke at the homage and had especially harsh words for Spain's governing Partido Popular. She demanded the resignation of PP government spokesperson Pablo Casado for having insinuated that president Puigdemont could meet the same fate as Lluís Companys. "What he said was offensive for the memory of all those opposed to the Franco regime and for any democrat", the mayor declared.
Regarding the political situation, Colau had a more conciliatory tone, once more calling for "dialogue", as well as demanding "serenity, political solutions and respect for one another".
Carme Forcadell, speaker of the Catalan Parliament, also took part in the tribute, which she described as an example of "historical memory". In statements to the media, she pointed out that historical memory "is not about revenge, but justice" and she related this homage to what she considers a "decisive moment" that Catalonia is currently immersed in.