CATALAN President Quim Torra has insisted that the people of Barcelona will not be provoked into violence during Catalan National Day on Tuesday, despite plans by the Spanish Government to bring in hundreds of additional police.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has announced that more than 600 riot police will be drafted in to Barcelona for the Catalan National Day – La Diada – on Tuesday. National celebrations are expected to attract about one million people to the Catalan city.

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Yet Torra said they would not be provoked into violence. He stressed that the Catalan independence movement had always been peaceful and said it would continue to be.

Meanwhile Scottish human rights lawyer, Aamer Anwar, who represented exiled Catalan politician Clara Ponsati, a St Andrews academic, when she was facing extradition by the Spanish Government, said Scotland’s freedom was tied to Spain’s.

Anwar, who will address crowds gathered for La Diada on Tuesday, will also call on the Spanish Government to allow Ponsati, who is living in Scotland in exile after she was accused by Spanish courts of violent rebellion and of misuse of public funds in organising the Catalan referendum in October, to be allowed to return home.

Speaking exclusively to the Sunday National, President Torra said: “The Catalan independentist movement has always been peaceful and will continue to be.

“This National Day we hope that there will be massive participation in favour of the freedom of the people of Catalonia and against the general prosecution against independence.

“But I am convinced that citizens will not fall into any provocation, as they have not done so far. And that one more year will be a civic, festive, plural and especially multitudinous day.

“As always, the Mossos d’Esquadra [Catalan police force] will face this day with the utmost excellence and professionalism.

“The Diada demonstrations have always been peaceful and there has never been any external police reinforcement.”

Yet he acknowledged that the celebrations to mark La Diada were taking place in far less than normal circumstances, with political prisoners held in Spain and others watching the events unfold in exile. La Diada will take place with nine political prisoners still in jail and others, including deposed president Carles Puigdemont, in exile following last year’s referendum and subsequent declaration of independence.

Other exiles include Ponsati, as well as Catalan ministers now living in Brussels and Switzerland who fled Barcelona after the Spanish Government issued warrants for their arrest.

International arrest warrants were withdrawn in July, removing the threat of extradition. However former ministers would face jail if they returned to Spain.

“Catalonia has political prisoners and exiles and the world must know it,” added Torra. “That is why this September 11 we will start a march to defend the civil, social and national rights that are now threatened in Catalonia.”

He said the “broad and diverse mobilisation” expected on Tuesday would highlight the unjust sentences facing political prisoners. “No crime has been committed here,” he added.

“Voting is not a crime. And the Scottish people know that perfectly.”

In his speech in Barcelona this Tuesday, lawyer Anwar is expected to bring a strong message of solidarity from Scotland, and from Professor Ponsati.

He will say: “Your freedom is tied to our freedom. Spain calls you terrorists but whoever stands for justice and peacefully fights for freedom cannot be called a terrorist.

“Freedom is your cause and you do not walk alone. There is no doubt in my mind that when the Spanish Government talked of decapitating the Catalan Government it wanted to silence a movement and a people.

“If Sanchez is truly interested in a political solution then free all political prisoners without condition and allow Clara Ponsati and her colleagues to return home. Silence is not an option for those on the side of justice.”