Exiled Catalan separatist leader Carles Puigdemont is a guest of honour this weekend at the annual festival of canton Jura’s separatist movement.
Hundreds of people applauded on Sunday as Puigdemont made his entrance accompanied by François Lachat, canton Jura’s first president and a leading figure in the canton.
Speaking at the “People’s Festival” in Delémont, Puigdemont thanked the gathering for “solidarity with Catalonia” and praised Swiss democracy, which he said “gives a voice to citizens”.
Puigdemont is currently living in exile in Belgium. He fled Spain in late 2017 to escape prosecution on charges of rebellion after Catalonian separatists launched a referendum in defiance of the Spanish government and then declared independence.
Puigdemont is the guest of the Jura Independentist Movement (MAJexternal link – link in French) which organizes the “People’s Festival”. Activists this year used the occasion to slam the attitude of canton Bern on Moutier, the small Swiss town that last year voted narrowly to secede from Bern and join canton Jura.
Appeals are still pending over allegations of fraud in the Moutier vote and separatists accuse Bern of trying to hinder secession. “Moutier will join Jura sooner or later,” chanted activists at the 71st “People’s Festival”.
The MAJ draws members from across political parties in canton Jura and has several thousand members and supporters, according to its website. It says it is fighting for “the independence of Jura across the whole if its historical territory”.