45.000 Catalans marched peacefully in Brussels
by Roni Alasor
Brussels, 7 December 2017 - Middle East Diplomatic (MED)-Round 45.000 Catalans marched peacefully today in EU capital Brussels in support of Catalan independence. The crowd gathered in the European quarters neighbourhood, waving Catalan flags and expressing strong solidarity with Carles Puigdemont, President of the Government of Catalonia, who had to flee from Spanish authority to avoid arrest as his fellow cabinet members.
Ten of thousands people carried placards criticizing the Spanish government’s policy against Catalonia’s independence, but they also criticised the European Union and EU-Commission President Jean-Claude Junker. Some of the placards said: “EU: shame on you” and “Europe, wake up”.
Catalan politicians marched together with members of Flemish parties and representatives of democratic forces in Belgium and Europe. The demonstration is part of the campaign for Catalan regional elections now on 21 December.
Speaking to the tens of thousands in the EU Capital, President Puigdemont called Spain and EU for respect of democratic values: “Europe should not fear defending fundamental democratic values. Catalonia wants to continue to exist under the form of a democratic country. We will continue to work to that aim here, at the heart of Europe”.
Frans Timmermans, Vice-President of the EU Commission, welcomed the “very positive atmosphere” of the peaceful Catalan demonstration.
President Puigdemont and four of his cabinet members had to flee to Belgium to avoid arrest by Spain after the referendum and the declaration of Catalan independence on 27 October. Eight of his cabinet ministers have been jailed in Spain.