President Puigdemont Statement on arrests September 20

lizcastro Catalonia, Translated Announcements

Good morning everyone. As you know, a little while ago the executive of the Government of Catalonia met urgently and extraordinarily, and we came to an agreement on the following official declaration that I want to share with you now. The Catalan Government was the recipient today of a coordinated aggression from the police forces of the Spanish government’s interior ministry, with the objective of blocking all Catalans from being able to express themselves, freely and peacefully, on October 1. And in order to suspend the activity of the government that was elected at the ballot boxes on September 27, 2015. A government that has broad citizen and parliamentary support, and which has the democratic legitimacy to defend the interests of its citizens and of its self-government.

This aggression has no legal basis. It was perpetrated by violating the rule of law and all constitutional guarantees, and by violating the European Union’s Charter of Fundamental Rights. Over the past few hours, and particularly today, the Spanish State has suspended de facto Catalonia’s self-government, and has applied a de facto state of emergency. Freedoms are being suspended and repressed. Mayors have been cited to declare before the prosecutors without having committed any crime. And just as a measure of intimidation, like Spain’s own attorney general recognized , who confuses his authority with a free reign. Free reign to walk over all of the guarantees and procedures that he has the duty to protect.

The police actions in various offices of the Catalan Government, the arrests of high-ranking officials and employees of the government, the indiscriminate searches even in private residences, the intimidation of the communication media, the behavior of a prosecutor who is outside judicial control, the attempt to block the Catalan government’s bank accounts without a judicial order, the violation of privacy of personal communication, the closure and blocking of web pages, the threat to the whole of our citizenry that wishes to express itself and decide on its future, all of this is generating a situation that is unacceptable in a democracy, and which is rather like a country that intends to resolve the wishes of an immense majority of the population of Catalonia through the suspension of the rule of law, and by attacks on democracy and freedom.

With respect to this situation, the Government of Catalonia wants to address its citizens with a clear message. We condemn and reject the totalitarian and anti-democratic attitude of the Spanish State and of a government that has shown its intolerant face that a good part of Spanish political system has had throughout its history. We offer all our support and legal, political, and personal help to the members and public servants of the government who have been arrested. We denounce the unlawful suspension and takeover of the Government of Catalonia by a Spanish government that does not respect the elemental principles of democracy. We insist on the democratic and peaceful response to the antidemocratic aggressions and threats that try to violate our peaceful coexistence.

It is our opinion that the Spanish Government has overstepped the red line that separated it from authoritarian and repressive regimes, and which has converted it into a embarrassment to democracy. The Government of Catalonia will study, together with the economic, social, and civic leaders of the country, joint actions that will be opportune. At any rate, the citizens are called on October 1 to come out and defend democracy against a repressive and menacing regime, and we have to offer a massive, civic response, we have to be prepared to defend democracy and defend Catalonia with the only weapons we have: citizen response and the peaceful, civilized attitude that has characterized this process. We will take advantage of the legitimacy of the democratic election by the Catalan people on September 27, 2015, and we won’t retreat because we don’t have the right to, and we will defend the right of the citizens to freely decide their future, because that is the job we were given by them and by the Parliament.

From today until October 1, the day of the referendum, we will have to maintain an attitude of firmness and serenity at the same time. Also of tension and denouncing the abuses and illegalities in which the Spanish State has incurred. But on October 1, we will leave our homes, we will carry a ballot, and we will use it, and this democratic response will have to counteract the actions of those who only know how to speak the language that for too long has been spoken by authoritarianism, and which has conditioned Spanish politics for too long. The Government of Catalonia will always make its decisions based on the legitimacy won in the elections of September 27, 2015 and it will be loyal to the proposal of a legislature and a governmental plan approved by the Parliament and never suspended by any court. What Catalonia is experiencing is not being experienced by any other state in the European Union. To all of the democrats who today feel indignant, whether you be in Catalonia or outside, because of the events of the past hours, the Government of Catalonia remains steadfastly committed and guarantees that that commitment will always be defended. We do not accept going back to past eras, and will not accept that they don’t allow us to decide about the future eras of freedom and democracy.

Good day and thank you very much.