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A growing number of Catalan pro-independence groups are joining a protest called at the European Parliament in Strasbourg - around 1000 kilometres from their home - initially prompted by the EU Parliament's action of preventing two Catalan MEPs-elect, Carles Puigdemont and Toni Comín, from collecting their credentials as EU representatives on Wednesday. The protest, scheduled for July 2nd and called by the Catalan exiles' body Council for the Republic, has now been joined by major pro-independence organization Catalan National Assembly (ANC) along with several other groups.

The date of the Strasbourg mobilization, July 2nd, will coincide with the constitution of the new European Parliament. Calling the rally, the Council for the Republic asked for a "mass demonstration of support for democracy and for the freedom of the [Catalan] political prisoners." The Council asserts that the EU chamber must not permit the exclusion of three Catalan MEPs elected on May 26th, referring to exiled president Carles Puigdemont, exiled minister Toni Comín and jailed vice president Oriol Junqueras.

At the same time, the Council also calls for the Spanish state to comply with the resolution of the UN Working Group on Arbitary Detentions (WGAD) and to release the Catalan political prisoners. This responds to a second specific issue which emerged last Wednesday, when the UN Working Group released its report on the jailed pro-independence leaders Oriol Junqueras, Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart, stating that it considered their arrests arbitrary, and calling for Spain to release them without delay.

The third, more general reason for the mobilization, says the Council, is to "say no to the democratic degradation of Europe."

Other groups have now begun to announce their adherence to the rally. On Friday, the ANC, numerically the largest of the Catalan independence groups, said that it will be in Strasbourg too, "defending our rights as constituents and those of our representatives, and demanding compliance with the opinion of the UN WGAD."

Together for Catalonia (JxCat), the political party for which Carles Puidgdemont and Toni Comín won election, also confirmed they would attend "to defend the rights of the MEPs who people are trying to exclude and to assert the value of the over 2 million votes that they obtained." In addition, the pro-independence party demands that "the State stop the repression and release the political prisoners".

A second pro-independence political party, Crida Nacional, will also protest in Strasbourg to support "our Catalan MEPs defending the right to self-determination."

In addition, the left-wing Catalan political group Poble Lliure (Free People), part of the CUP party, has stated that it will be present at the rally to "defend political and civil rights and oppose repression". The group adds: "Let's activate a permanent mobilization for the Catalan Republic."

Finally, Junts per la República (Together for the Republic), consisting of MEPs and a group independent of JxCAT, has stated that it will also take part in Strasbourg on July 2nd "in defence of the freedom of Catalan political prisoners and the popular vote that made them MEPs."