Spain: Catalan Mayors Opt for Independence

Barcelona Catalonian Flag Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Barcelona Catalonian Flag Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The Catalan mayors have opted for independence in a recent gathering.  The Catalan mayors have demonstrated their support for the independence referendum that Madrid has declared illegal.

The proposed referendum is supposed to be held on 1 October. The mayors gathered in Barcelona defied the Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s call for ‘rationality and legality’.  The Spanish government, however, has promised to block the referendum.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said, “The only thing I ask of mayors is that they comply with the law, and as such don’t participate in an illegal referendum.”

He said, “There will be no referendum, I say so calmly as firmness. The longer it takes to rectify more harm, they will make the Catalans and the rest of the Spanish. No one should underestimate the strength of the law and Spanish democracy.”

The Catalan mayors gathered at Carles Puigdemont, regional head of Catalonia. The gathering of the mayors defied an ensuing warning from the government that the leaders affiliated with the referendum would be charged with misuse of public funds, civil disobedience and abuse of office.

740 of 948 municipal leaders have demonstrated their support for the referendum. Meanwhile, the Spanish prosecutors have summoned the municipal leaders who opted for the referendum. The order says the leaders who fail to appear before the court would be arrested.

The Barcelona mayor Ada Colau said, “It’s a disgrace that we have a government that is incapable of dialogue and instead dedicates itself to pursuing and intimidating mayors and the media.”

She said, “I will do everything possible to ensure that the citizens of Barcelona who want to vote on 1 October can do so. His threats will not intimidate us. It’s my duty as mayor to protect the institution, yes.”

Catalonia is one of the richest regions of Spain. Proud of its language and culture, Catalonia is one of the most industrialized regions of the country and has been independent-minded. With an area of 12,397 mi², Catalonia has around 7.5 million people.

The gathering in downtown Barcelona braced massive pro-independence chants. Hundreds of people chanted “we will vote” and “independence”.

The Spanish police have been hunting for several printing shops and newspaper offices in search for pro-independence materials i.e. voting papers, leaflets and ballot boxes. A top Catalonian court has issued a warning against some local newspapers to stop pro-independence propaganda and campaign notice for the referendum.

The polls, however, show that the majority of the Catalonians are in favor of independence. But the majority of the people want a vote.

The nationalist fervor of Catalonia geared up after the constitutional court of Spain limited Catalonian claims to nationhood in 2010. The Spanish government has so far strongly opposed the Catalonian ambition for independence.

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