- Title: Thousands protest after Catalan leader stripped of lawmaker position
- Date: 3rd January 2020
- Summary: BARCELONA, SPAIN (JANUARY 3, 2020) (REUTERS) ***WARNING: CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** CATALAN PRESIDENT QUIM TORRA SHAKING HANDS WITH SUPPORTERS / PEOPLE SHOUTING (Catalan): "GET THE SPANISH FLAG OUT" VARIOUS OF QUIM TORRA AND MEMBERS OF CATALAN GOVERNMENT HOLDING BANNER READING (Catalan): "FREEDOM POLITICAL PRISONERS" PROTESTERS AT SANT JAUME SQUARE IN SUPPORT OF QUIM TORRA AND SHOUTING (Catalan): "INDEPENDENCE" VARIOUS OF PRO-INDEPENDENCE PEOPLE SUPPORTING QUIM TORRA PROTESTERS SHOUTING (Catalan): "FIRST OF OCTOBER, NEITHER FORGET NOR FORGIVE" / BANNER READING (Catalan): "EVERYBODY WITH THE PRESIDENT" PROTESTERS SHOUTING (Catalan): "GET THE SPANISH FLAG OUT" / PRO-INDEPENDENCE FLAG BANNER READING (Catalan): "EVERYBODY WITH THE PRESIDENT" (SOUNDBITE) (Catalan) ANTONIA, 64, PENSIONER, SAYING: "We have just learned that the Central Electoral Board, which I do not consider to have the ability to disable a president chosen by the Catalan Parliament, which is the voice of the citizens of Catalonia. I strongly disagree, at least they could have waited to see what the Supreme Court was doing. I think it is out of play." (SOUNDBITE) (Catalan) JORDI MIRABET, 73, PENSIONER, SAYING: "The Electoral Board, like all Spain, takes resolutions that have nothing to do with Catalan reality at all. It is a colonial state and acts as a colonial state, with a justice of the enemy, simply that." VARIOUS OF PROTESTERS AT SQUARE / PRO-INDEPENDENCE FLAG VARIOUS OF PROTESTERS HOLDING BANNERS READING (Catalan): "NOT ONE STEP BACK" AND SHOUTING (Catalan): "INDEPENDENCE" PROTESTERS WAVING PRO-INDEPENDENCE FLAGS PROTESTER WAVING PRO-INDEPENDENCE FLAGS AND SHOUTING (Catalan): "INDEPENDENCE" MEMBERS OF CATALAN GOVERNMENT PLACING A BANNER READING (Catalan): "FREEDOM POLITICAL PRISONERS" IN THE BALCONY REGIONAL GOVERNMENT HEADQUARTERS WITHOUT THE SPANISH FLAG, PROTESTERS AT THE SQUARE
- Embargoed: 17th January 2020 20:33
- Keywords: Catalonia Electoral Board Quim Torra Spain Torra stripped of lawmaker position
- Location: BARCELONA, SPAIN
- City: BARCELONA, SPAIN
- Country: Spain
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA001BUME62V
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Thousands of pro-independence supporters demonstrated on Friday (January 3) after Spain's electoral committee banned Catalan regional leader Quim Torra from holding public office for 18 months over his refusal to remove separatist symbols from government buildings.
Waving separatist flags and chanting pro-independence slogans, the protesters gathered outside the regional government headquarters where Torra greeted them before making a statement.
According to a statement by the Catalan government, the ban refers to Torra's position as a lawmaker in the region's parliament but not his role as head of the regional government.
To be elected as head of government Catalan law requires a candidate to be a lawmaker in the regional chamber. However, once elected, losing the position of lawmaker does not necessarily imply being stripped of the title of head of the regional government, the Catalan government said.
Catalonia's highest court had already convicted Torra of disobedience, a decision which he pledged to appeal.
The decision comes at an extremely sensitive time for Spanish politics, a day ahead of a parliamentary confirmation vote where Socialist leader Pedro Sanchez will rely on the abstention of Catalan separatists Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC) to confirm him as Prime Minister.
(Production: Jordi Rubio and Luis Felipe Castilleja)
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