In an interview with the Catalan News Agency (ACN), president Torra has sent what he wants to be a “very clear” message to the Spanish king. This, after Felipe VI’s willingness to negotiate with pro-independence forces was made public on Monday.
“It’s never too late to apologize to Catalans” Quim Torra said, directing his words to the monarch. He was referring to Felipe VI’s reaction to the October 1 police violence during the independence referendum. The king responded by saying the full force of the Spanish state should respond against Catalonia. “Felipe VI is not the king of Catalans any longer” Torra added.
Torra recalled that the Catalan government maintains its veto against the Spanish head of state, and will “not invite him” to its events nor “attend” events called by Spain’s Royal house.
Despite this, Torra believes that it was a good idea to request a meeting with Felipe VI, just before the Tarragona Mediterranean Games. The president insists that “he would request one again, and if he wanted to come to the Palau de la Generalitat, he would receive him with pleasure.”
“I would like him to come to explain to him the grave political situation happening in the country, with political prisoners, exiles, thousands of Catalans accused, and the right to self-determination criminalized,” Torra explained, adding that , thus far, he has not had the opportunity to do so.
Torra said that he is “no one to tell citizens what they should do” if the monarch does come, but proposed the idea that Catalans against his visit should ignore his presence. He remembered a recent trip to the southern Catalan town of Tortosa made by head of unionist Ciutadans (Cs) Inés Arrimadas.
Pro-independence supporters shunned the Cs leaders presence at the Renaissance festival. “I think what the people of Tortosa did is very good regarding the visit of Inés Arrimadas, and I would suggest that it´s a good route to explore,” said Torra.
In the interview, Torra highlighted his belief that “freedom of expression comes before all else.”