What is going on in Catalonia?
Madrid is increasing legal, economic and political pressure over Catalan authorities in an effort to disrupt the organization of an independence referendum on October 1.
The crisis in Catalonia has deepened nearly daily over the past weeks as central authorities pull out the stops to prevent the referendum in a region sharply divided over independence. One of the authors moved to the region some years ago while the other was born and raised in Quebec.
How strong is support for independence?
They also sing the song dubbed Els Segadors (The Reapers in Catalan), which is the official anthem of the region and carry the Estelada flags, which are symbols of regional independence.
A survey commissioned by the regional government in July showed 49.4% of Catalans were against independence while 41.1% were in favour.
How did we get here?
And it has threatened to arrest mayors who facilitate the vote if they do not comply with a criminal probe in the matter and has tightened control over the region’s finances.
Catalonia represents a fifth of Spain’s 1.1-trillion-euro economy.
Spain considers the referendum to be illegal. “The Spanish government is making a grave mistake”.
Spain’s Constitutional Court banned the vote earlier this month after Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said it violated Spain’s 1978 constitution, which states the country is indivisible.
On what grounds does the Spanish government oppose the vote? Catalonia has a strong independence movement and plans to hold a vote on independence regardless, leading to several recent attempts by the national government to stop the vote. A 2006 referendum approved a Statute of Autonomy giving the regional government new powers, but parts of this were annulled in 2010 following a court challenge by the conservative Popular Party.
Photo Protesters and Catalan regional police clashed in Terrassa, in the province of Barcelona, on Tuesday.
The Spanish government has declined to rule out any options for preventing the referendum from taking place.
Operations were also underway Wednesday at several offices of the Catalan executive, including the presidency and the departments of economic and foreign affairs.
But Catalan President Carles Puigdemont accused Madrid of imposing a “de facto” state of emergency to stop the referendum. Among those detained were officials from the economy ministry, run by Catalan Vice-President Oriol Junqueras, as well as figures from other departments.
He asked the region’s government to give up its “escalation of radicalism and disobedience”.
“I hope that there will be a dialogue between the Catalan and Spanish governments to try and resolve the situation”. Officers also seized ballot papers prepared for the vote from a warehouse in a village 28 miles (45 kilometers) north of Barcelona where two more people were arrested, according to Europa Press.