Catalan president Quim Torra has insisted on calling an independence referendum as the only way out of the Catalan crisis. In his customary speech on the National Day’s eve, the head of government said that “exercising the right to self-determination, a right that belongs exclusively to the peoples” must be the way to know whether citizens want to be part of a state. “And they have the entire right to exercise it.”

Indeed, ahead of the verdict on the jailed leaders, expected to be released within a month, Torra said: “We’ll need to exercise again every right that is being denied to us.” The trial to the political and civic leaders intends to determine whether the 2017 referendum and the whole independence push that fall was a crime under Spanish law.

“We are in the 21st century, no matter how hard some want to return to the 19th or even the 18th, and all the democratic and peaceful fights have to be able to succeed if they are backed by the majority of citizens,” he said during his speech in the government headquarters.

400.000 registered

Torra also implicitly called on the public to attend the pro-independence demonstration to be held on Wednesday and for which 400,000 people have already registered. “Tomorrow let’s take to the streets and squares to declare our unnegotiable commitment to democracy, social, civil and political rights, and always with the freedom flag everywhere.”

He also implicitly referred to Spain’s response to the independence push, including imprisonments of politicians: “Democracy, today in our country under a long and pathetic siege, is and always will be the response of Catalans. And this is the response we demand to everyone.”