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Memorial for the victims of the traffic accident in Freginals

Intervention of the Rector Didac Ramírez.

Intervention of the Rector Didac Ramírez.

The victims were remembered by three students of the Faculty of Economy and Business.

The victims were remembered by three students of the Faculty of Economy and Business.

Speech by a victim's sister.

Speech by a victim's sister.

A moment from the event.

A moment from the event.

Flower offering.

Flower offering.

27/04/2016

Institucional

The President of Generalitat de Catalunya (Catalan Government) Carles Puigdemont, and the Rector of the University of Barcelona, Dídac Ramírez, chaired the memorial for the victims of the traffic accident in Freginals (Tarragona) that happened last March 20 –in which around 50 students of 20 different nationalities were coming to Barcelona after a short stay in Valencia. The event, which took place in the Paranimph of the Historical building of the University of Barcelona, gathered victims’ relatives, injured students from the accident and other classmates; students from the University of Barcelona and other European universities; and other representatives from Catalan politics such as the Mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau; the President of the Parlament de Catalunya, Carme Forcadell; the Delegate of the Spanish Government in Catalonia, Maria de los Llanos de Luna; and the Mayor of Freginals, Josep Roncero. Other attendants were the Councillors of Generalitat Jordi Jané, Antoni Comín, Carles Mundó and Jordi Baiget, and the Secretary of Estat d’Universitats (University State), Marcial Marín.

The music of the students' string quartet of the Escola Superior de Música de Catalunya (ESMUC) and the Rector Dídac Ramírez's words opened the heartfelt ceremony: "With serene fortitude but with the same sadness, the University of Barcelona wants to pay homage and remember for ever the 13 students who died, the 34 who were injured, the 65 who travelled by bus, the 275 students who took part in that trip, with a solidary and affectionate act with the families, friends, teachers, a supportive holding hand from the University of Barcelona, from the city of Barcelona, Tortosa and Freginals, and from a whole country which offers you all our support and heart". "From now on, every March 20 –said the Rector- the University of Barcelona’s flag will be lowered to half mast, in memory of the victims".

The participation of three students who were injured in the fatal accident and the following flower and light offering were the most touching moments of the memorial. The three friends of the lost students wanted to share with the attendants and families the experiences lived being an Erasmus, the shared joyfulness, the emptiness and incredulity for the losses. Then, while the names of the 13 students were appearing on screen, students from the University of Barcelona placed a white rose in each of the 13 empty chairs with candles at the presiding space in the room.

The words of a victim's sister were also very heartbreaking —a Medicine student who could complete her wish of studying at the University of Barcelona and asked for more effort for the young and safety in general to the European Union.

The President of Generalitat de Catalunya, Carles Puigdemont, ended the ceremony with his words: "Your daughters left in a very unfair and premature way, only when they were starting a life project they deserved, that you deserved, to be long and happy. During all the painful and sad hours, the best of decent societies emerged: brotherhood, solidarity, friendship, love". The President highlighted "the solidarity of a whole country feeling sad and painful for the victims, the support from the Catalan people, the effort everyone made towards this tragedy". "The love and friendship for your daughters —he said— asks their lives to continue and never stop, with all their rights. I also wish for the injured schoolmates to recover soon and to help make a better world in which their friends would have liked to live".

10 out of the 13 affected families came to Barcelona to attend the memorial. Some moments before the memorial for their daughters, the Rector of the University gave the families a book of condolences which collected people’s affection and solidarity the day after the accident.

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