Albert Rivera, the leader of Ciudadanos, waves to those who had gathered in the Parc de la Mar.

08-07-2018Teresa Ayuga

Around 500 people attended an open-air meeting on Sunday of España Ciudadana. Described as a patriotic project, meetings are to be held across Spain in the lead-up to next spring's regional elections.

Ciudadanos are behind this project. In Palma's Parc de la Mar, those attending spent two hours under a baking sun listening to speeches from, among others, the leader of the C's, Albert Rivera, and Joan Mesquida. Formerly a member of PSOE and an ex-director general of the Guardia Civil and National Police, Mesquida stated that he is "a patriot" who defends a Spain which guarantees all Spaniards the same rights wherever they live.

Explaining his reasons for joining the C's, Mesquida said that he shares the constitutional values of Ciudadanos and the same ideas regarding the "territorial defence" of Spain. The C's are vehemently opposed to separatism.

Rivera was greeted with chants of "president, president" - Spanish prime ministers do in fact have the title of president - and observed that all those gathered in the park were part of a "project for Spain". In considering the situation in Catalonia, Rivera said that the easy way out is appeasement but that it is not the correct way. "We've thought for forty years that nationalism would settle down, but it has proved to be insatiable by its very nature." He would not look the other way and would act to "defend the freedoms of all Spaniards".

On Pedro Sánchez, Rivera noted that the prime minister talks about normalising the situation. What is not normal, he added, is a regional president who refers to the Spanish nation as a "beast". He was talking about Quim Torra of Catalonia.

Also in attendance was the former French prime minister Manuel Valls, who was born in Barcelona. Speaking in Catalan, he said that those who want to split Spain are the same ones who want to break up Europe. He had become involved in the debate about Catalonia because of a need to defend "modern history for the future of Europe". He attacked "supremacist" visions, populism and nationalism that will "wreck liberty, democracy and European values".