Catalan President Carles Puigdemont has recorded a message of anger after Madrid invoked Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution, putting Catalonia under the direct control of Madrid, subject to a vote in the Spanish Senate that will almost certainly backup Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s position on the matter.
Catalans gathered in Barcelona to listen to the speech which was made behind closed doors, possible due to safety concerns. Because of a lack of public address systems, people were seen listening to the speech on their smartphones.
Puigdemont did not take the opportunity to instate his earlier declaration of independence which has not been formally implemented. Instead, he slammed Madrid for what he called the “worst attacks” on Catalan democracy since the fascist dictatorship of Francisco Franco.
Towards the end of his short remarks, Puigdemont began speaking in English and addressed these remarks to Europe as a whole. He stated that Madrid’s position goes against fundamental European values of openness and diversity. He also called on Europe to defend the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, which he inferred is being trampled on in Catalonia.
While he did not make any decisions regarding the status of Catalonia during his adders, he instead stated that he will call on the parliament of Catalonia to discuss these issues. He stated,
“I ask the parliament to meet in a plenary session during which we, the representatives of the citizens’ sovereignty, will be able to decide over this attempt to liquidate our government and our democracy and act in consequence”.
Earlier in the day, however, Puigdemont joined other politicians and members of the public during a patriotic rally in Barcelona.
With protests mounting and neither Barcelona nor Catatonia able to see eye to eye, there is a potential for escalation in a conflict that thus far, few factions or international mediators seem equipped to resolve.