President meets MPs in Portugal

Torra raises the international profile of the conflict in a visit to Lisbon as Spain recovers from Borrell’s slip-up in Germany

President Quim Torra piled more pressure on a Spanish state reeling from foreign minister Josep Borrell’s slip-up on German television, and the declarations in support for the political prisoners and exiles by the Occitanie regional assembly, by further raising the international profile of the Catalan cause on his visit to Portugal.

“It’s important to us that we have our own voice in the world, because if we do not explain ourselves others will, and being capable of communicating a message of freedom, civil rights and the right of self-determination of the people of Catalonia,” said the president in Lisbon, where he announced the reopening of the government’s Portuguese office.

The head of government met more than a dozen Lisbon leftwing politicians, thanking the Portuguese parliament for being the first in the EU to publicly call, in March last year, for a political and democratic solution based on the will of the people of Catalonia.

“In the eyes of the world, increasingly more people are realising the extent to which the infringements of civil and human rights on behalf of the Spanish state are totally unbearable from a democratic point of view,” he said.

At the end of the meeting, MP Isabel Pires (Left Bloc) said that her party will demand the Portuguese government “put pressure” on Madrid to engage in dialogue with the Catalan government.

Torra also celebrated the manifesto signed last week by 41 French senators that condemned the “repression” of the political prisoners and calling for “respect for basic rights and freedoms” in Catalonia, and the manifesto supported by 700 Italian intellectuals demanding that the conflict be kept out of the courts and calling for dialogue with Spain. “Yet again international public opinion cannot understand what is happening in Spain,” he added.

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