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Catalan president Quim Torra has used the traditional end of year message to express his disappointment with the legislature that is now coming to an end in Catalonia, which he defined as that of "the repression", only surpassed by that under the Franco regime. In an address delivered from an historic pharmacy in Girona, at the end of the year in which the president himself was removed from power by the courts, Torra asserted that Catalans must make a decision in response to these developments and be "consequent" in their actions: "Either the Kingdom of Spain or the Catalan Republic; either repression and corruption, or freedom and justice", he held up as binary choices.

"It is true that the legislature now coming to an end has not served to advance as we would have liked in making a reality of the independent republic that Catalans decided on in the referendum of October 1st. It has been the legislature of the greatest repression experienced since Francoism. Three years later, we have political prisoners, exiles and more than two thousand eight hundred people who have faced retaliation via court proceedings and state violence. There are now three Catalan presidents who have been prosecuted and convicted for defending the most basic democratic principles. In my case, the intolerance of the Kingdom of Spain towards civil rights and freedom of expression has been well demonstrated," he said, alluding to his disobedience conviction for refusing to retire a "Free political prisoners" banner from the government palace.

Torra indicated that, while this was happening in Catalonia, in Spain "they have assisted in the flight of a king immersed in an immense corruption scandal", in reference to the PSOE-Podemos government, and to former king Juan Carlos I. "A corruption that is not the exception, but rather the hallmark of the Bourbon dynasty. A corruption that is not an anecdote, but a whole web and a system of power," he asserted.

 

The president dedicated much of his speech to the Covid pandemic, which, as he explained, was why he was delivering the address from the pharmacy of the Hospital de Santa Caterina in Girona, where he has his office as former president. He also reflected on what we hoped people would learn from the coronavirus crisis: "This year, in 2020, we have seen how the need to hold on to life and give everything back it s relative importance. We will seen that we must live intensely and value every moment of our lives. That experiences must be lived fully. Or as the poet of Burjassot [Valencian writer Vicent Andrés i Estellés] said, that we must ‘Be, and be fully, completely.’ And that when engaging in politics one must always think of the people, the community, that is, the country", he added.

Torra was very critical of the Spanish government for how it has handled the pandemic, and accused it of acting in an "interested" and "petty" way. In his opinion, the pandemic "stripped the autonomy from Catalans as never before, all over the nation, from Salses to Guardamar and from Fraga to Maó". And he also appealed on the public to learn the lessons from this.

The president ended his speech by proclaiming "For Catalonia and for life", paraphrasing the Hebrew expression lehaim.

 

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