The last three presidents of theCatalan government, Artur Mas, Carles Puigdemont and Quim Torra, have denounced in a joint appearance in Perpignan the repression that all the heads of the executive have suffered in recent years . All three have signed a manifesto calling for international support: “Human rights Europe is incompatible with a country that engages in repression.” They wanted to symbolize their political persecution and assured that their situation ‘goes beyond the political parties’.

Artur Mas denounced that all three had suffered repression by the Spanish state for following the mandate of the polls. ‘We didn’t come to complain or show our wounds. We have come to explain ‘, he made clear before openly asking whether’ it is normal for the EU of the 21st century that the last three presidents of an EU territory have been persecuted for defending ideas and executing non-violent actions’ or if it is ‘ethical’ for Catalonia to have three persecuted presidents and political prisoners, while the emeritus king of Spain was able to flee with the complicity of the state. For Mas, ‘with this kind of Spain, a good Europe cannot be built’, because ‘the Europe of rights and freedoms is incompatible with the Spain of repression’.

Exiled president Carles Puigdemont highlighted the fact of having to meet in Perpignan, while Spanish king Felipe VI was in Barcelona. He recalled that, during his reign, all the presidents of the Catalan government had been persecuted. ‘It’s a record,’ he said, recalling that the investiture of Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Turull, who are in jail now, was also prevented: ‘There are three of us, but we could be five’. Puigdemont said that they will persist in their political struggle because ‘by defending the rights of Catalans we are defending human rights all over the world’.

Finally, Quim Torra said that the movement for self-determination has changed in recent years into a civil rights struggle over state authoritarianism. He also said that during his presidency he had checked the limits of autonomy and gave as an example the difficulties encountered by the Catalan government in implementing certain measures to combat the pandemic.

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