Barcelona paid tribute this Wednesday to the victims of the Rambla attack on its fifth anniversary. An act, as in previous years, austere and without parliaments, in which relatives of the victims and authorities have participated. The event was held in Pla de l’Os, the point where the van that killed 15 people on the afternoon of August 17, 2017 stopped. A small group of people has broken the minute of silence with shouts calling to know “the truth” about the massacre and with independence proclamations, which has caused the indignation of many of the victims. The group of boycotters was subsequently greeted by Laura Borràs, who attended the event and enjoyed a small mass bath among her followers despite being suspended as President of Parliament for her court case on corruption. Institutional representation has with the president of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès, the mayor, Ada Colau, and the Minister of Culture and Sports, Miquel Iceta. The president of the Congress of Deputies, Meritxell Batet, and the second vice-president of the Parliament, Assumpta Escarp, who has come on behalf of the Catalan chamber since its president, Laura Borràs, have also participated. Borràs, however, has attended the event. Other authorities present were the Vice President of the Generalitat, Jordi Puigneró; the councilors Josep Maria Argimon and Joan Ignasi Elena, and the Government delegate in Catalonia, Maria Eugènia Gay.Laura Borràs approaches her followers at the end of the act of homage to the victims of the 17-A attack on the Rambla.Gianluca BattistaUn A group of a few dozen people with white banners shouted “we want the truth” at the beginning of the act, outside the circle reserved for relatives and authorities. A poster recalled the expression “a little scare”, alluding to the words that former commissioner José Manuel Villarejo expressed in a recent judicial statement and in which he insinuated, without evidence, that the CNI had wanted to punish Catalonia with the attacks. The cries of these protesters who denounced an alleged conspiracy, alternated with pro-independence proclamations, have made it impossible to hear the beginning of the message read by a young representative of the victims. Until two weeks ago, the President of Parliament attended the event together with other representatives of Junts , such as the secretary of the Parlament Bureau Aurora Madaula and David Torrents, recently elevated to the party’s organization secretary. Borràs has greeted some of the people who have participated in the boycott of the minute of silence. At the end of it, the former president of the Parliament has also been photographed with some of them, when the rest of the political leaders had already left the area. The politics of Junts has responded with effusive greetings to the proclamations of “president” that the boycotters have launched at her. Junts has expressed a little more than two hours later through his Twitter account his “strongest rejection of the interruption of the minute of silence” on Barcelona’s Rambla, although Borràs has not retracted anything at any time. Shortly after, the former general secretary of the party, Jordi Sánchez, stressed that “there should have been no leading role other than that of the families of the victims.” The also former leader of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and condemned in the procés trial has added that “it was not the place to break the minute of silence or to seek political prominence.” He then concluded: “I’m sorry, not like that!” I went to les Rambles, in the record and honored the victims of # 17Agost, I didn’t hauria d’haver hagut cap more protagonisme than the relatives of the victims. It was neither the lloc nor the minute of silence nor the moment to seek political prominence. I’m sorry. Aixi, no! https://t.co/u4ncXrwpHF— Jordi Sànchez (@jordisanchezp) August 17, 2022 What affects the most is what happens closest. So as not to miss anything, subscribe.SubscribeThe actions of the small group of boycotters and Borràs’s attitude towards them has bothered the victims and other political leaders present at the event. The adviser of the Unit for Attention and Assessment of People Affected by Terrorism (Uavat), Robert Manrique, in statements to the media, has criticized: “I have always said that an act of homage to the victims has to be free of political messages. What a pity that there are people today who use the act to do politics.” The representative of the Parliamentary Committee, the socialist Assumpta Escarp, has also called for “no noise to break the silence of respect for the memory and the victims” of the attacks. In the pro-independence ranks there has also been criticism against the boycotters. The ERC spokesman in Congress, Gabriel Rufián, has been blunt: “Not respecting a minute of silence in memory of the victims of an attack is miserable. And get political profit from it, despicable. Not in my name”, she said. Laura Borràs has not been alone in spurring on the pro-independence sectors that continue to question the results of the investigations and that maintain that the State had some kind of responsibility for the attacks. The former president of the Generalitat, Carles Puigdemont, has taken advantage of the anniversary to once again question the results of the investigations through social networks. “The best tribute we can pay to the victims and their families is to know the whole truth. It is neither fair nor humane to deny the victims the right to know”, he stated on Twitter. President Pere Aragonès has avoided entering into questioning. He has remembered the victims and the work of the security and emergency teams on social networks. He later assured: “We are a people of peace.” “We are not afraid that we affirm then it is still more valid than ever”, he has concluded. For her part, the mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, lamented “a boycott that is out of place” in an act, as she recalled, where institutions have always wanted to give prominence to the victims. “I ask for a reflection so that it does not happen again”, she pointed out in a later appearance: “Boycotting such an act for partisan purposes is the height of shame”, she underlined. Asked specifically about Borràs’s attitude, the mayor stated: “I don’t want to get into political controversies, if there have been institutional officials who have come out to endorse this act of boycott, I think they portray themselves and do not represent this city.” The mayor explained that the families have not understood the interruption of the minute of silence and has especially regretted that this year at the event there were relatives of victims from Holland, France and even the mother of the little Australian Julian, who was seven years old when he died in the attempt. Clara Blanchar reports. Immediately after the act was dissolved, relatives of victims have blamed some protester for having broken the minute of silence. Five anys of that #17A that we cannot force more. A record for all the victims and a hug for the families. I de nou, an agraïment to the feina feta those dies per so many professionals. He did not have why they give llavors, they are still more current than mai. We are a town of pau. pic.twitter.com/SpTFv4jiKN— Pere Aragonès i Garcia 🎗 (@perearagones) August 17, 2022 The institutional act was followed by two other events. The first, at 11:30 a.m., at the beginning of La Rambla, in which some victims, delegates from the police forces and representatives of the Catalan Popular Party, Ciudadanos and Vox participated. Half an hour later, in front of the headquarters of the European Parliament in Barcelona, on Paseo de Gràcia, a group of protesters from “Platform 17A, we demand responsibilities” staged an act to mark the anniversary of the jihadist attacks five years ago. Part of the attendees, around two hundred people, had previously attended and boycotted the institutional act on the Rambla, at the beginning of the morning. Borràs was also present at the event on Passeig de Gràcia, as well as the other two Junts representatives who accompanied her during the first meeting. Photo gallery The protesters have launched slogans such as “The Spanish State and CNI, responsible” or “Generalitat, inoperative! ”. The concentrations have also carried banners with slogans such as “17A, State crime” or “The sewers of the State kill”, in addition to slogans such as “We want the truth”. The act, which concluded with a closed cry of “independence”, had as its objective to deliver a manifesto to the European Parliament delegation, which has been received by a security agent from the building. Lack of attention to the victims One more year, the commemoration of the attack has been marked by complaints of lack of attention to the victims. The Unit for Attention and Assessment of People Affected by Terrorism (UAVAT) has denounced the “null treatment” of the Ministry of the Interior towards the victims of the terrorist attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils (Tarragona), whom, according to this association, it has not informed nor advised at any time. In statements to Catalunya Ràdio, the UAVAT adviser Roberto Manrique had previously stressed that the Ministry of the Interior has the “legal obligation to put aside all channels to inform and advise the victims” but that, however, “it has not done so”. The president of the Congress of Deputies, Meritxell Batet, has opted to work to accompany the victims of terrorism and has stated: “I think that enough is never done, more things are always needed, more institutional and social attention.” You can follow EL PAÍS Catalunya on Facebook and Twitter, or sign up here to receive our weekly newsletter
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