The Willistonian, Est. 1881

Catalans Seek Independence from Spain

Credit%3A+Huhsunqu+via+Creative+Commons.
Credit: Huhsunqu via Creative Commons.

Credit: Huhsunqu via Creative Commons.

Credit: Huhsunqu via Creative Commons.

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UPDATE: On Thursday Oct 19, the Spanish government said it would enact emergency measures to prevent Catalans from seceding. 

On the east coast of Spain lies a province known as Catalonia. It houses the city of Barcelona, along with seven and a half million people.

On October 1, Catalonia illegally held a poll to see if they should split from the nation of Spain. According to the New York Times, 90 percent of those who voted said yes to independence.

It isn’t that simple, however. The voting was actively protested by the central Spanish Government, who attempted to bar voters from the poll booths. This resulted in at least 893 civilians and 431 police officers injured, according to the New York Times.

Catalonia has always been a fairly autonomous state, and its people are proud of where they are from. They have spoken about independence in the past, but this is the first time they have engaged against Spain in such a way.

While the results seem in resounding favor of a split, there has been backlash by members of the region as well. According to The Telegraph, a “silent majority of hundreds of thousands of people” have raised up and demonstrated their opposition to secession.

“Catalonia belongs to us all, and not just the to the nationalists,” leader of the Catalan Civil Society Alex Ramos told the New York Times.

Due to this, the President of Catalonia and King of Spain, Carles Puigdemont, has asked the Catalonian Parliament to suspend its mandate to immediately declare independence so that dialogue could begin between Catalonia and the Spanish Government. He remains adamant, however, that Catalonia will gain independence from Spain.

“Catalonia has earned the right to be an independent country and has earned the right to be listened to and respected,” Puigdemont said in his address to the regional parliament this Tuesday, October 10.

The Prime Minister of Spain, Mariano Rajoy, has given Puigdemont and the rest of the Catalonian government until Monday, October 16 to decide if they are declaring independence, according to The Guardian.

If Catalonia decides to declare independence fully, it could spell turmoil for the nation of Spain. Spain is in its own right under Rule 155 of their constitution to forcefully take control of the region should they threaten to secede.

Spain hasn’t been separated into pieces since 1939, when the country was at war with itself during the Spanish Civil War. War needed or not, a Catalonian split would rock the foundations of Spain to its core. Currently in the midst of their largest recession in history, as well as several terrorist attacks, a violent separation of one of its largest regions would be astounding.

 

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