President Quim Torra has asked the international community to show some sympathy for the Catalan pro-independence movement. Torra spoke on Monday night at Stanford University, in the US, at the invitation of the Martin Luther King Institute.

“The western world cannot allow the suppression by force of a democratic movement like ours, tolerating authoritarian methods only reinforces authoritarian states” he said. The head of the Catalan government also stated that “in Spain, in full democratic regression, the struggle for the Catalan republic is the only way to recover” citizens’ civil rights and democracy.

“I call on the international community to act with a fierce urgency as of now, and to engage in international mediation that allows the Catalan people to effectively exercise our right to self-determination” he added. According to Torra, “only the power of international pressure will force the Spanish state to sit at the table and negotiate.”

During his speech, the president also insisted that Catalonia will not accept a conviction in the upcoming trial against the jailed pro-independence leaders. “International public opinion is going to be crucial in the next few months” he added.

Spanish consul intervenes

The event was also attended by the Spanish consul general in San Francisco, Diego Muñiz, who made some remarks on the issue. Muñiz defended the same position that all Spanish governments have so far taken, no matter the party in power: the Spanish Constitution “does not provide for an independence referendum.”

The diplomat also asked Torra why the independence declaration on October 27, 2017 “did not get any international recognition.”

The Catalan leader reminded Muñiz that there is international legislation that supersedes the Spanish one, and answered the question by wondering where in the world a referendum is called “and police are sent to attack” voters.