New Catalan Parliament Convenes in Barcelona Following Snap Election

Roger Torrent was elected parliamentary speaker in Barcelona on January 17 as the new Catalan Parliament held its first session following a snap election in December.

Catalan’s parliament was dissolved by the Spanish government after the region declared independence from Spain in October following an illegal referendum on secession.

As the new parliament met, the region’s leader, Carles Puigdemont, remained in self-imposed exile in Belgium, facing arrest on charges of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds if he returned.

Torrent can be seen speaking in this clip, and, towards the end of the video, empty seats marked with yellow ribbons can be seen, symbolizing those legislators absent due to imprisonment or exile.

Activists rallied outside in favor of independence from Spain, tying yellow ribbons to the rails surrounding the Parc de la Ciutadella. Credit: Parlament de Catalunya via Storyful