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​Institutional statement from President of the Government following terrorist attack in Barcelona

Barcelona, Friday 18 August 2017

Ladies and gentlemen, a very good evening to you. Thank you very much for attending at this late hour.

I would like my opening words tonight in Barcelona to be ones of grief, of remembrance and of solidarity with the victims of this attack and for their families and friends. These are our top priorities at this time.

I also want to express the solidarity of the whole of Spain with the city of Barcelona, hit hard today by Jihadi terrorism, as other cities around the world have been before. The people of such places as Madrid, Paris, Nice, Brussels, Berlin and London have all experienced the same pain and the same apprehension as the people of Barcelona are suffering today, and I want these opening words to be for them, to convey to them the affection, solidarity and empathy from the whole of Spain and from the rest of the world.

As testimony of the pain of the Spanish nation to this criminal attack, the government decrees a period of official mourning from 00:00 hours on 18 August 2017 until 24:00 hours on 20 August, during which time the national flag will be flown at half mast on all public buildings and Navy vessels.

Today Spain, and more specifically Barcelona, receives the affection and solidarity that we have shared at other times with other cities and other countries that have been hard hit by the barbarity of terrorism. I also want to say that not only are we united in grief; we are, above all, united in our firm will to defeat those who wish to tear down our values and our way of life. That is why I wanted to come here to Barcelona as soon as possible to meet up with the State law enforcement agencies, and express my support to them in their close and effective collaboration with the Mossos d'Esquadra [Regional Police Force of Catalonia] and Guardia Urbana [Barcelona City Police Force] in tackling this savage terrorist attack.

It is also important that on such a harsh and sad day as today, all of the security forces and our intelligence services, civil protection and emergency authorities and, in short, all of those who oversee our security, know that they can count on the unconditional support of the people and Government of Spain. It is true that today we are suffering from the pain of a terrible blow, but it is no less true that the selfless work of these men and women over so many years has managed to protect us for a very long time and frustrate a multitude of criminal plans, which they will assuredly continue to do in the future.

Regrettably, the people of Spain are all too familiar with the absurd and irrational pain caused by terrorism. We have suffered from the scourge of terrorism in our most recent history, but we also know that terrorism can be defeated. It can be defeated through institutional unity, police cooperation, prevention, international support and the firm determination to defend the values of our civilisation: democracy, liberty and the rights of individuals. And terrorism can also be defeated through broad agreements between political parties, as indeed happens in Spain. We will shortly call the Counter-Terrorism Pact to reaffirm our unity and all work together in the future, as we have been doing to date.

Ladies and gentlemen,

This terrible tragedy we have suffered today in Barcelona unites us in the pain suffered by so many other countries around the world. Tonight I also want to express my gratitude, here and now, to all the international leaders who have passed on to me their messages of support and solidarity. I have been unable to speak to them as it was more urgent to get up to speed with events, but I will personally thank them for their messages over the coming days.

Lastly, I would like to reiterate what I have already expressed to Regional President Puigdemont in private - that he has the full and unconditional support of the government and the Spanish State in providing aid to the victims and comforting the families affected, re-establishing normality in the streets as soon as possible and bringing to justice those responsible for this act of barbarity. You should also be aware that the whole of Spain shares the same sentiments as those felt today by the people who live here in Barcelona.

Today, the fight against terrorism is the main priority of free and open societies such as ours. This is a global threat and the response must be global. All of those who share the same passion for liberty, for the dignity of human beings and for a society based on justice and not on fear and hatred, are allied in this same cause.

As I said just a moment ago, it is true that we are united in our pain, but above all, we are all united in our desire to do away with this senselessness and this barbarity. Let us never forget that Spain is united by certain values that we are proud of: democracy, liberty and human rights. We have fought many battles against terrorism over the course of our history, and we have always come out on top, and on this occasion the Spanish people will once again triumph.

Thank you very much.

Non official translation