Quim Torra’s allies say it’s not the time to set ‘deadline’ for new referendum.
Catalonia’s regional president called on Thursday for a new vote on independence from Spain as protests continue over the conviction of separatist leaders for staging the last referendum.
In a speech to the Catalan parliament, Quim Torra condemned the Spanish Supreme Court’s decision to jail former regional government officials for their role in an October 2017 independence referendum and subsequent declaration of independence, saying Catalonia must defend its rights, including to freedom of expression.
“If we are sentenced to 100 years for putting self-determination to the ballot box, the answer is clear: self-determination must be put to the ballot box,” Torra told the parliament. “Within this legislative term, if we make it possible between all parties and organizations, we must be able to finish the process of validating independence.”
But Torra’s suggestion of holding a referendum by the end of the legislative term was met with shock from other pro-independence politicians, according to newspaper El Diario, who said they didn’t know he would suggest it.
“Now is not the moment to set deadlines,” said Sergi Sabrià from the pro-independence ERC, one of the parties that makes up the regional government.
Earlier in the day Torra called for an end to the violent protests that have rocked Barcelona since Monday’s conviction of the 12 separatist leaders to up to 13 years in jail.
Demonstrations began hours after the verdict was announced, with some 10,000 protesters swarming Barcelona’s airport, causing more than 100 flights to be canceled. At least 130 people were injured. Demonstrators in Barcelona on Wednesday set up blazing barricades, torched cars and launched projectiles at police.
Catalan unions have called on a general strike in the region for Friday.