Catalonia: Trade Unions Call for Strike

Catalan Leader Carles Puigdemont's Facebook Post on 3 October
Catalan Leader Carles Puigdemont's Facebook Post

The Catalan trade unions and associations have called a general strike in Catalonia. The strike may bring a big area of Catalonia to a standstill.

The strike came following a disputed independence referendum held in Catalonia on Sunday that hit chaos and violence in the region.

The Spanish police were instructed by the central government to halt the referendum. In doing so, the security forces engaged in clashes with the separatists in many places.

Hundreds of people have been injured in the day-long clashes with the security forces who attempted to force the voters out of polling stations.

The trade unions and associations called the strike condemning the “grave violation of rights and freedom.”

The referendum was opposed by the central government of Spain who echoed the declaration of Spain’s constitutional court the Catalan independence referendum as illegal.

In spite of the Spanish effort to halt the referendum, more the 2 million people voted in the referendum and around 90% of them said “Yes” to the Catalan independence.

The Catalan President Carles Puigdemont told the press right after the vote was counted that the Catalonia has earned the right to statehood through the referendum.

Mr. Puigdemont, however, later said he is not planning a “traumatic split” with Spain. He seeks a new understanding with the Spanish government.

He told the press, “We don’t want a traumatic break… We want a new understanding with the Spanish state”.

The Prime Minister of Spain, Mr. Rajoy said the people of Catalonia have been fooled by the Catalan government. He described the vote as a mockery of democracy.

“At this hour I can tell you in the strongest terms what you already know and what we have seen throughout this day. There has not been a referendum on self-determination in Catalonia,” he said on Sunday.

The Spanish Justice Minister Rafael Catalá Has threatened to invoke Article 155 that allows Catalan autonomy.

“We are not here to divide Spaniards… but if someone tries to declare independence on behalf of a part of Spain’s territory, that cannot be done because it is beyond their powers,” said Rafael Catalá.

Given the hard stance of the Spanish government, the President of the Catalan government, Mr. Puigdemont has called the international community to mediate between the central government and the regional government.

The European Commission, however, has described the crisis as an internal matter of Spain.

The Commission said in a statement, “We trust the leadership of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to manage this difficult process.”

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