After the Brexit vote European future will be challenged again on October 1st in the little Catalonia. Catalonians want independence referendum, Spain stands strong, calling it illegal and banning it. There is no constructive dialogue between both sides, and that can only end up in a huge disruption, sooner or later.
The Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy had vowed to “stop at nothing” to prevent Catalonia’s independence referendum and prosecute Catalan leaders. Senior regional officials have been arrested, government offices raided, and referendum websites blocked in the drive to shut down the vote. Thousands of police reinforcements had been sent to the region to prevent people from voting.
At the same time Catalonia’s leader had made clear his government was determined to go ahead with the independence vote on Sunday.
Spanish courts have seized paper ballots and ordered schools, scheduled to be used as ballot stations, to be cordoned off. Independence supporters are calling to turn out at the polling stations for a peaceful resistance, even if they are unable to vote. To keep polling stations accessible, parents are organizing a mass school sleepover this weekend, with camping in tents and traditional paella on top.
While just under 50% of the region’s inhabitants support independence, according to polls, over 80 % want to vote on the matter. And on this I stand with people of Catalonia. Like I stand with Scotts. And with every other nation who want to democratically determine its future.
Catalonia’s 7.5 million population has a distinct language and culture, which were suppressed under Franco rule in Spain. The independence move have grown since 2010 after Spain’s Constitutional Court struck down key parts of a charter that would have given the region greater autonomy. Catalonia has the largest economy of the Spanish regions — greater than Greece’s and close to those of Denmark or Ireland.