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Exiled Catalan president Carles Puigdemont pointed a finger directly at Pedro Sánchez in a speech this Sunday, telling the acting Spanish PM and head of the Socialist (PSOE) party that "the Catalan government will never have a Mister X figure who runs a terror squad like the GAL." Puigdemont, responding to those who are currently trying to associate the Catalan independence movement with violence, was referring to the Socialists' own notorious use of state terror when in government in the 1980s, for which two members of Felipe González's PSOE cabinet served prison terms.

In a videoconference from Waterloo (Belgium) during the event held by the JxCat party this morning outside Lledoners prison, in which current Catalan president Quim Torra also took part, Puigdemont stated that he would never see a Catalan minister "convicted for kidnapping someone", referring to the former PSOE ministers José Barronuevo and Rafael Vera. The PSOE government figure who was in overall charge of the GAL death squad, the mysterious 'Mister X', was never prosecuted in court, despite a great deal of evidence on his identity. 

In his address, Puigdemont rejected the "strategy of criminalizing the whole independence movement," to which, he said, "there was only one possible response": "Let's use the weapons of democracy: ballot boxes and voting papers." Since the Civil Guard's controversial arrest of nine Catalan activists last Monday for alleged terrorism, statements by Spanish authorities and media content have repeatedly attempted to draw links between the Catalan independence movement and violence.

Banalizing terrorism

The exiled president praised the "serene" responses of the independence movement to "violent episodes" such as the many police charges of the 1st October 2017 referendum or unionists who remove yellow ribbons with sharp objects such as knives.

"But what were they thinking? For a very long time, without any complexes at all, we have been going out to the streets actively fighting against terrorism and violence," said Carles Puigdemont, before criticizing "all those who banalize terrorism."

"Carles Puigdemont: 'It is the Spanish government which has caused this unprecedented situation of having 4 [Spanish general] elections in 4 years. It is this very inability to engage in dialogue which leads to the pursuit, imprisonment and bringing to trial of political and social leaders who have always opted for dialogue and democracy.'"

"Carles Puigdemont: 'In the Spanish state when they have no other means left, they set up insane spectacles like that we have experienced this week in the Catalan Parliament. We have to carry out politics from the grassroots, from democracy and human rights. Democracy is defended by exercising it every day.'" — Junts per Catalunya​

"We are people of peace, and it is precisely because we want peace that we use the weapons of democracy," said the exiled president, who on the eve of the second anniversary of the 2017 referendum, called on voters "to support those who are staking everything on independence and democracy" - by going to the polls on 10th November.