During Sunday’s demonstration in Paris, the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, explained that he was taking part in the “Unity Rally” to protest against last week’s terrorist attack in the French capital. “To defend liberty and liberties” stated the President, “this is about defending the freedom of expression, the right to demonstration and it is a question of political freedoms” he added.
According to Mas, his participation in the day’s event was in response to the need “to defend individual and collective rights because they are part of a common value in our civilization and a value that unites all Europeans”.
In declarations to the press, Artur Mas highlighted the longstanding “friendship between Catalonia and France” as well as “the many connections and shared interests that exist between the two countries”, asserting that the Catalan Government’s presence in the march was an expression of “European solidarity”.
When asked about the possible need to increase security measures within Europe, the Chief Executive acknowledged that the “line between security and liberty is very delicate”, adding that “this debate, which has taken place in Catalonia before, is a complicated one”. The President expressed his belief that “security should be well supported” and assured that this was evident in the case of Catalonia as he reminded the press that “the Government of Catalonia had not been lax in this sense” and that he has never once “been hesitant to add security measures when deemed necessary”, despite having, at times, received criticism for being too cautious. Regarding this issue, the President warned that “everything has its limits” as an “oversaturation” of security measures would be counterproductive because the benefit these measures may not justify the means and could create a prejudice for the normal functioning of society.
The President participated in, what the French interior ministry declared as the largest demonstration in French history, alongside the Mayor of Barcelona, Xavier Trias, the Minister of Home Affairs, Ramon Espadaler and the Minister for Territory and Sustainability, Santi Vila.