Hundreds attended a Rally in Cardiff today to support the people of Catalonia, to support democracy and to oppose violence.
Iestyn ap Rhobert, YesCymru Chair, said at the rally:
“The violence the Catalan electorate suffered by the armed police of the Spanish state is totally unacceptable in the modern Europe. The purpose of the violence was to block the democratic right of the people of Catalonia to determine their own future. Today’s rally is an opportunity for the people of Wales to declare that we support the people of Catalonia, that we support democracy and that we oppose violence.”
Since the referendum, two of Catalonia’s civil society leaders have been imprisoned by the Spanish state, and the Spanish Government has dissolved the Catalan Parliament and forced new elections.
In a message read at the rally, Sergi Marcén, the Chief Delegate of the Government of Catalonia to the United Kingdom said:
“I would like to thank the people of Wales for showing their warm support towards the people of Catalonia. Thank you for hearing our voice. European values are our values. This is why what happens in Catalonia affects all Europeans and democrats. We are convinced that the ultimate purpose and spirit of the law is the defence of rights and freedoms, but the leaders of the two main pro-independent civil society organizations in Catalonia are being held as political prisoners. This means that showing your solidarity is more important than ever. We deeply appreciate it and will not forget it.”
Also speaking at the rally was Jill Evans MEP, who has shown leadership in the European Parliament on the situation in Catalonia. Jill Evans said:
“The people of Catalonia have a democratic right to decide their own future. The government was elected with a mandate to hold an independence referendum and the process has been completely peaceful and driven and led by the people. It is not an internal issue for Spain, it will affect the future of Europe as a whole. That is why European governments should respect the decision of the people of Catalonia.”
FBU Wales Secretary Cerith Griffiths, who was speaking at the rally to show solidarity with Catalan firefighters who were attacked by Spanish police during the referendum for protecting civilians and their right to vote said:
“During the recent Catalan referendum we saw firefighters defending citizens and the democratic process from the very people who are responsible for this in everyday life. Firefighters are used to protecting people but not protecting them against an emergency service who they often work closely with. The FBU have attended this rally today in a show of solidarity with our Catalan firefighting colleagues and in support of their fight to preserve the democratic process.”
Sandra Clubb, Chair of YesCymru Cardiff, Gwynoro Jones, Former Labour MP and Lib Dem member and Agit Ceviz from the Kurdish community in Wales also made powerful speeches at the rally.
At the end of the rally, Geraint Rhys from Swansea sang his song in support of the people of Catalonia ‘Visca la Terra’ , a song that has been watched almost a hundred thousand times on Youtube.