Exiles and freed prisoners meet again in Elna to celebrate 60 years of Òmnium

Cuixart, before the Government of the 2017 referendum: "We will do it again. We will do it together and we will do it better"

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Pardoned politicians and exiles at the end of the ceremony in Elna

ElnaAfter the cold reunion between Carles Puigdemont and Oriol Junqueras on July 7 in the House of the Republic almost four years after the 2017 Referendum, this Friday the president and the vice president of the Government that led the 2017 Referendum have met again in the celebration of 60 years of Òmnium in Elna, in North Catalonia. The organisation wanted to symbolise the reunion of freed prisoners and exiles with the will to turn the page on the discrepancies in the bosom of the pro-independence movement and work out a joint strategy to prepare for the new onslaught with the State. The estrangement between Puigdemont and Junqueras, however, has become evident again with few signs of cordiality between the two.

The president of Òmnium, Jordi Cuixart, affirmed that this Friday's event - which included former CUP MP Anna Gabriel's surprise appearance - should mark "the path of reunion" of the pro-independence movement. He also warned that "repression only seeks to divide". "Victory depends on our unity," he added. He also repeated his statement before entering prison: "there are not enough prisons to stop so much dignity", and stressed that the exercise of self-determination remains prioritarian. "We will do it again and we will do it together and better", he thundrered to the applause of hundreds of people who gathered at the old school in Elna.

It has not been his only call for unity. "The 2017 referendum belongs to everyone; we only progress when we are together, when we look at each other face to face and recognise each other in diversity, and we will be pushing our politicians and institutions with loyalty," Cuixart continued, who also defended "the incorruptible commitment" of the organisation with independence and the achievement of the Catalan Republic.

Once he finished his speech, Puigdemont and Junqueras spoke. They did not enter the enclosure together (Puigdemont was first with Cuixart and president Pere Aragonès and a few meters behind was the leader of ERC with former Speaker Carme Forcadell). They did, however, greet each other cordially, although with coldness. "This photo is the photo of all sovereigntism and demonstrates the will to continue on this path together," said Cuixart

Afterwards, Cuizart called former CUP MP Anna Gabriel to the stage, who left Switzerland for the first time since she arrived there. Marta Rovira, secretary general of ERC, did not participate due to the international arrest warrant against her.

Hug between Jordi Cuixart and Anna Gabriel

The transversality was on show thanks to the large representation of sovereigntist parties and organisations in attendance. These included Junts leaders Jordi Sànchez and Elsa Artadi, ERC MPs Ruben Wagensberg and Jenn Díaz, deputy Speaker Alba Vergés, and CUP's Dolors Sabater, Carles Riera, Eulàlia Reguant and Montserrat Vinyets, as well as the deputy in the Albert Botran. Not all of them, however, were politicians, since cultural entities were also represented and even a delegation from Barça was present.

After tough weeks to bring together the Government of the Referendum, Òmnium stands as the cradle of unity, as Cuixart remided. "As the esteemed Muriel said, we want to continue to be a meeting point for the whole of sovereigntism and Catalanism, and the bridge when everything is sinking," he said, aware of the need to open a new phase to close the wounds of a past that is still too present.