Victims indignant over disruption of minute's silence
A pro-independence group protests at the event demanding to know "the whole truth"
BarcelonaThe institutional act to remember the victims of the 17 August 2017 terror attacks, five years after the tragedy, saw scenes of tension due to a protest by a group of pro-independence activists, some of whom broke the minute's silence with shouts demanding to know "the whole truth", causing the indignation and surprise of the victims and their families.
In front of the Joan Miró mosaic on the Ramblas, a remembrance act was held with the victims and their families in the front row and, in the background, institutional representatives. Yet dozens of people gathered around the event, booed political representatives and displayed banners with slogans such as "We demand explanations". During the minute's silence, several people shouted slogans such as "Spain is a murderous state, we want the truth, hypocrites!" or "We want to know the truth". As Efe explained, once the act was over, some of the victims' relatives confronted one of the activists. They replied that "the murderers have already been denounced", while the man and some of his companions replied that "they came here to kill Catalans".
The adviser of the Attention and Assessment Unit for the Affected by Terrorism (Uavat), Robert Manrique, regretted in declarations to the media that "there are people who use the event to do politics": "An act of homage to the victims should be clean of political messages", he insisted. The mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, has also stressed that several victims were "very upset" by these behaviours. "In the name of the spirit of solidarity, empathy, appreciation and respect for the victims I have to regret that, for the first time in five years, a small group has disrupted the act of remembrance and the minute's silence," the mayor stated, who considered the actions "lacked respect". "It was neither the place, nor the way, nor the moment," she stressed. On the other hand, ERC local councillor was also critical of the action and denounced "those who support and encourage this lack of sensitivity because they believe that their cause is above someone losing a person they love"
At the end of the memorial, the former parliamentary speaker and current leader of Together for Catalonia (JxCat), Laura Borràs, approached one of the groups that led the protest and greeted them. Due to her suspension as speaker, Borràs did not attend the event as an institutional representative but as leader of JxCat. In the absence of Alba Vergés (ERC), the second vice-president of the chamber, Assumpta Escarp (PSC), represented the Parliamentary bureau. Also present were the president of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès; Spanish Congress's speaker, Meritxell Batet; and Spanish ministers Miquel Iceta and Raquel Sánchez.
In a tweet, Borràs expressed her support "to the victims and everyone who demands to know the truth". "There are still some who prevent the truth from getting out," she explained in reference to the Spanish Congress's refusal to create an inquiry into the attacks. Subsequently, JxCat posted a tweet in which it expresses its "most energetic rejection to the interruption of the minute's silence". The party's former secretary general, Jordi Sànchez, was also critical of the protest: "There should not have been any protagonism other than that of the victims' relatives". "It was not the place to break the minute's silence nor the moment to seek political protagonism," he said.