This morning, on the second anniversary of the 1 October referendum, the president of the Government of Catalonia, Quim Torra, said that the Catalan government “pledges to move forward, with no excuses, to make the Catalan Republic a reality”. The president said this path must be followed “in the only way we know and want: democratically and peacefully”, and that the Catalan government also pledges to “persevere until the political prisoners are freed and the exiles can return home”.
“This is a pledge we’re making to the citizens of Catalonia, whatever their views – to make this a better country to live in and to make our collective and individual aspirations a reality. It’s a commitment to Catalonia – to democracy, rights and freedom,” he said.
The president was speaking at the “First of October Pledge” ceremony, held in the Pati dels Tarongers of the Palau de la Generalitat, where Quim Torra was accompanied by Vice-President Pere Aragonès, the rest of the Catalan ministers, and other high officials.
Recalling referendum day, the president said 1 October “will always be the day when present-day republicanism was founded in Catalonia” and “Catalan society took control of its destiny and stood up to barbarity”.
“Catalan society, as the custodian of civil and political rights, defended itself, assuming all the consequences, including being beaten and assaulted by forces sent by the Spanish government,” he said. Torra also lamented the “serious consequences” that holding the referendum had had for the Catalan government and its highest representatives, “who are now in prison or exile for having fulfilled an electoral mandate”, and for many citizens, mayors and councillors.
Recovering the spirit of 1 October to meet the challenges ahead
Vice-President Aragonès appealed to the spirit of 1 October and the days that followed, “when we joined forces and citizens took to the streets in defence of rights and freedoms”. He said recovering that spirit was essential to “meet the challenges that lie ahead and pursue the path to the Catalan Republic, which will be inevitable, and which we want to build with and for everyone”. The vice-president stressed that the way forward will always be based on “an undeniable and unquestionable commitment to peace, dialogue, the will of the people, voting and democracy. This is the way of the Catalan people – historically and today”.
“The First of October is and will always be a day of commitment, affirmation, solidarity, initiative, collective action and dignity – a day when there was an eruption of democratic action in favour of the right to self-determination,” said Aragonès, stressing Catalan society’s commitment to the ballot box, “despite the threats, fear and violence inflicted and generated by those who wanted silence and imposition rather than the free expression of the will of the people”.