As reported by The Guardian this week, the Spanish government has begun raiding government offices, arresting Catalonian government officials, and has confiscated over 10 million ballot papers in an effort to repress the Catalonian vote for independence on October 1st.
Carles Puigdemont, the head of Catalonia’s pro-sovereignty government, described the raids as a “a co-ordinated police assault” that showed that Madrid “has de facto suspended self-government and applied a de facto state of emergency” in Catalonia.
He also appeared to draw a parallel between the raids and the repression and abuses of the Franco dictatorship, tweeting: “We will not accept a return to the darkest times. The government is in favour of liberty and democracy.”
I believe all this will do is convince many Catalonians who do not favor independence to strongly consider joining those who do. Especially if comparisons are being made to Francisco Franco’s rule (as in the Tweet above). When Franco was in power he went as far as to make speaking the Catalonian language illegal, and they have not forgotten this.
A survey two months ago showed 49.4% of Catalans were against independence while 41.1% were in favour.
More than 80% of participants opted for independence in a symbolic poll three years ago – although only 2.3 million of Catalonia’s 5.4 million eligible voters took part.
The latest, as reported by Reuters is that the Spanish government will be sending an additional 3,000 to 4,000 state police in addition to the 5,000 that are already stationed there.
I believe very strongly in the right of people to self-determination. It will be interesting to see how this turns out and what the Spanish government’s next steps will be.