Politics 02/07/2021

Puigdemont meets again with pardoned JxCat politicians three years later

Turull, Sànchez, Rull and Forn travel to Waterloo to visit former president

2 min
Imatge of the prisoners of JxCat with Puigdemont after three years

One of the first things the JxCat prisoners said they would do when they were free was to go to Waterloo to visit former president Carles Puigdemont. After more than three years in prison, once pardoned, they have done so: this Friday ex Catalan ministers Jordi Turull, Josep Rull, Joaquim Forn and Jordi Sànchez have travelled to Belgium to meet again with Puigdemont. It was the first time they had left the country since 2017.

Since the events of October 2017 Puigdemont and the Junts prisoners had not seen each other face to face and their relationship has been limited to letters and videoconferences. "Very excited," Rull said outside the House of the Republic in Waterloo, although they have not made statements to the media, ACN reports. It is expected that they spend the day with Puigdemont and also with exiled former Catalan ministers Toni Comín and Clara Ponsatí, who this Friday are also in Waterloo to meet their colleagues.

The joy of the reunion was evident on Twitter. "This really is a real reunion. We will not stop until we do it together in Catalonia which is where it should be", has expressed Turull in the network, while the general secretary of Junts, Jordi Sànchez, has shared a video in which all the former ministers are seen in a relaxed conversation with music in the background. "After 3150 days in prison, I am happy. This is the unstoppable force that will set us free. Spain has not defeated us," he reaffirmed.

It is the second reunion that the pro-independence movement has had this week, since on Wednesday ERC pardoned politicians travelled to Geneva to meet with secretary general of the party, Marta Rovira. These included the president of ERC, Oriol Junqueras, with the former president of the Parliament Carme Forcadell and ex Catalan ministers Raül Romeva and Dolors Bassa. "It is a special day, very emotional and exciting, because four years ago we could not embrace and be be together because of repression," said Rovira in statements reported by the ACN.

No joint photo

Exiles and prisoner were united this week, but it has been separately: Esquerra's have met in Geneva while JxCat's have in Waterloo. The joint photo of the Catalan government which called the 2017 referendum and was ejected by the suspension of home rule will have to wait. This is a telling sign of the extent to which relations between the two leaders of that executive, Carles Puigdemont and Oriol Junqueras, have deteriorated. Yesterday, in Jordi Cuixart's first political act as president of pro-independence association Òmnium since leaving prison, he stated he wanted to bring them together in North Catalonia this summer to celebrate the 60 years of Òmnium. He explained that the celebration has to be an "act of national reunion where no one is missing". It remains to be seen, then, whether or not the complete reunion will take place in the coming days.

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