New Catalan President may be investigated over hate speech claims

PROBED: Quim Torra was sworn in last Thursday PROBED: Quim Torra was sworn in last Thursday Catalan Parliament, via Twitter

TWO political groups have filed complaints with prosecutors against Cataluña’s new President over comments made about Spanish people which they claimed amounted to hate speech.

Spain’s Special Prosecutor’s Officer for Hate Crimes and Discrimination are now reportedly analysing tweets and articles published by Quim Torra, who was sworn into the office yesterday. He allegedly referred to Spanish people as “beasts” in one remark.

Their probe comes after the far right political party Vox and the Movement Against Intolerance group both lodged complaints with authorities.

They claimed Torra’s comments violated Section 510 of Spain’s Criminal Code which forbids: “incitement to hate, hostility, discrimination or violence against a group.”

In one remark he said: “Spaniards only known how to plunder.”

“Above all, what is surprising is their tone, poor manners, their Spanish snobbery, the sense of filth. Horrible,” read another.

The Catalan President acknowledged he made the comments and apologised for them after the region’s Parliament elected him to the office by a margin of one vote.

“I regret it, it will not happen again,” he said while speaking to lawmakers.

Pedro Sanchez, the national leader of the left-leaning Partido Socialista (PSOE), said the comments were “xenophobic” and “racist”.

“He is more or less the Le Pen of Spanish politics,” he said, in reference to French nationalist and anti-immigrant Front National leader Marion Le Pen.

The possible investigation comes as Spain’s governing conservative Partido Popular (PP) prepares to end the direct rule imposed on Cataluña following last year’s independence push.

The PP and the PSOE have both ruled out refusing to re-impose Article 155 on the region if its new government restarts moves towards secession.

Joe Gerrard

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