A group of government members headed by the president has laid flowers at the tomb of President Lluís Companys to mark the 79th anniversary of his execution by firing squad.
President Torra with Vice-President Aragonès in front of the memorial monolith to Companys, at the Fossat de Santa Eulàlia. Photograph: Rubén Moreno

The president of the Government of Catalonia, Quim Torra, has again described the verdict in the 1 October referendum trial as an act of “revenge”. The president said: “The ruling is aimed at criminalising the independence movement. They want the people of Catalonia to give up their democratic struggle, and even to give up using certain words and expressions: we can’t talk about the right to self-determination.”  But Torra struck a defiant tone: “We’ll do it again because holding a referendum isn’t a crime.  We will never waver in the exercise of our right to self-determination. We will stand up for that right as previous Catalan presidents – Macià, Companys, Irla, Tarradellas and their predecessors – did in the past.”

The head of the executive made these statements after heading a group of government members to lay flowers at the monument and tomb of a former president of the Generalitat, Lluís Companys, on the 79th anniversary of his execution at the hands of the Franco dictatorship.  The Catalan government paid tribute to Companys in front of a memorial monolith at the Fossat de Santa Eulàlia, where he was shot by a firing squad, and then at his tomb at the Fossar de la Pedrera.

The president commemorated President Companys and all those who gave their lives for the freedom of Catalonia. Torra once again called for the Spanish government to “do justice for the crimes of the Franco regime” and recognise “the state crime that the Spanish state committed against Lluís Companys”.

The head of the government reiterated that this is a “critical hour” for Catalonia and criticised the Spanish state for “using repression as dialogue by convicting twelve people for acting on a political commitment and democratic mandate and allowing millions of citizens to express their views through the ballot box on 1 October 2017”.