Ex-Catalan leader speaks to mayors in Brussels

Ousted Catalan President Carles Puigdemont says he will defeat at the ballot box next month what he calls the Spanish government’s “repression” of Catalonia’s wishes for independence.
Puigdemont says Catalonia “has one path to becoming a republic — via democracy.”
Puigdemont spoke mostly in French to around 200 visiting mayors from Catalonia who gathered in a Brussels art museum. They gave him a rapturous, standing ovation before he began speaking, chanting “president, president.”
The Catalan leader fled to Brussels after the Spanish government dismissed the regional government and parliament because of their attempts to secede from Spain. The Spanish government says it is upholding the law, but Puigdemont claims he and his separatist allies are being persecuted.
Catalan officials at the Brussels event Tuesday urged European Union leaders to take up the Catalan cause. A group of mayors held up letters spelling “Help Catalonia.” At the end, they sang the Catalan anthem and the mayor raised their walking sticks— the symbol of mayoral power in Spain.
An Early regional elections is scheduled for Dec. 21.
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