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Firstly, through his mere presence, and then, with his speech, a city councillor called Quim Forn caused more than a few tears to fall among those present at this Saturday afternoon's constituent session of the Barcelona city council. Once the new Ada Colau-led city council had been voted in, and the speeches all completed, he was led to a police van once again, which set out for the Madrid jail of Soto del Real, denying him, in the first place, any participation in the protocol whereby the mayor and city councillors cross the square of Plaça Sant Jaume to greet the Catalan president in the Palau de la Generalitat. Before that, however, political prisoner Forn once again took possession of his position as councillor, the elected post he had previously held for 18 years, and addressed the people of Barcelona.

As he walked up to the lectern in the town hall's historic ceremonial space, the Saló de Cent, Forn received a long ovation from those present, who chanted "Freedom, freedom" - a cry that also boomed in through the windows from Plaça Sant Jaume where crowds of protesters and supporters were gathered. Then, in front of the microphone, he opened his address with a reference to his colleagues, the pro-independence leaders who are in exile, those facing reprisals, and especially, the other eight in jail with him, whose trial in Spain's Supreme Court has just ended and is now awaiting a verdict. Forn hadn't been inside the city hall in two years, he  said. "And now I enter again, and not as I would have liked to have done, in liberty, like a normal citizen would, but I am nevertheless affected by the feeling and satisfaction of having done my duty, despite the high price that I am paying, and I return to city hall full of satisfaction and firm convictions".

As the leader of the JxCat (Together for Catalonia) list at the municipal elections, Forn explained why the five councillors elected from the list voted for Ernest Maragall as mayor: "His was the most voted list at the elections, and it is one of the candidatures with whom our group has the most in common in terms of our programmes and model for the city." He then made a series of criticisms aimed at Ada Colau, remonstrating that "she made a great error in not respecting the most voted list." And he added that "you know as well as I do that it responds to a political operation, directed by those who you like to call the powerful, and you have been a useful tool for these powers who you so enjoyed criticizing during the election campaign".

But despite his criticisms, Forn ended with "a positive message." He regretted the "scorn" of the Commons "for my party", because "it is not a responsible attitude for a mayor who has to govern for all." For this reason, he gave a message "for everyone, also for my own political group: we can only face the challenges that we have as a city, and as a country, if we are able to overcome certain negative attitudes, certain mental and partisan barriers that prevent us from reaching broad agreements."

At the Barcelona city hall he is at home, it is his natural space. He held elected office in the city council until 2017, when Carles Puigdemont called on him to take over the Catalan interior ministry months before the independence referendum. A role that ended up with him in jail.

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