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Catalonia wants out; Spain says no

 
 
Lash
 
Reply Sat 30 Sep, 2017 02:40 pm
The central government in Madrid is bent on preventing the Oct. 1 referendum: in the last week, Spanish military police have shut down multiple websites associated with the referendum, and raided newspaper offices, TV stations and print shops in search of the ballots and ballot-boxes to be used in the vote. The Spanish interior minister has attempted to seize control of the Catalan police. Meanwhile, two ferries docked in Barcelona’s port are housing thousands of riot police that Madrid has said it plans on using to physically stop the vote. Spanish police have arrested at least a dozen members of the Catalan autonomous regional government and others involved with the independence movement, threatening charges of “sedition“ and “rebellion.“

Last month, as the referendum fervor was heating up, leading Spanish daily newspaper El Periódico published a document alleging that the CIA had warned the Catalan police about a potential attack in Barcelona. The document stated that three months before the attack, the CIA had warned the Catalan police, the Mossos d’Esquadra, of “unsubstantiated information of unknown veracity“ pointing to a summer attack in Barcelona. The document (pictured below) named Las Ramblas as a potential target.

https://theintercept.com/2017/09/30/catalonia-cia-report-mossos-el-periodico/

It gets a little pear-shaped...
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Type: Discussion • Score: 7 • Views: 13,667 • Replies: 522

 
centrox
 
  4  
Reply Sat 30 Sep, 2017 03:14 pm
@Lash,
Lash wrote:
It gets a little pear-shaped...

Especially if you leave this part out:
Quote:
El Periodico’s initial story unraveled quickly: Soon after its publication, local journalists questioned the veracity of the document. Supposedly authored by the CIA, it was plagued with spelling and formatting errors typical of Spanish speakers. Even WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange tweeted that he thought it looked fake.

The publication of the document raises many questions. If it is indeed fake, was it created by El Periódico, or did the newspaper get spun a fabrication by an outside source who was intent on undermining trust in Catalonia’s authorities?


El Periodico is an "easy-read" tabloid, not a "leading newspaper". I'd take the Mossos over the Guardia Civil any day. I have to declare a personal interest - I took part in a march in Girona the day before yesterday, and I took this picture:

https://images.imgbox.com/c0/68/pmUf9fmM_o.jpg
ossobucotemp
 
  0  
Reply Sat 30 Sep, 2017 03:36 pm
@centrox,
I'm dealing with a wonky computer but am very interested in knowing more about the Spain-Catalonia situation. Research is out of the question, at least for this week. Right now, I recall that this has been building for a long time... but not the details of all of that.

0 Replies
 
centrox
 
  3  
Reply Sat 30 Sep, 2017 05:20 pm
Under the Franco (fascist) dictatorship, (1939-1975), any Catalan identity was ruthlessly stamped on. It was illegal to teach the language in schools or use it in public administration. In fact, Catalunya has a history of being occupied or conquered by "Madrid". They have long memories.
Lash
 
  2  
Reply Sat 30 Sep, 2017 05:38 pm
https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/world-europe-41452174

A bit:

More than 160 schools in Catalonia have been occupied by activists trying to keep them open ahead of the region's banned independence referendum, Spain's central government says.

Police visited 1,300 of the 2,315 schools in Catalonia designated as polling stations, finding 163 occupied.

Tens of thousands of people are expected to attempt to vote on Sunday.

Demonstrators also rallied in Barcelona on Saturday evening against the poll, calling instead for unity with Spain.

Waving Spanish flags and carrying banners reading "Catalonia is Spain", thousands marched on the town hall.

Meanwhile, Spanish authorities are stepping up their attempts to stop the ballot taking place.

Authorities in Madrid have sent thousands of police to the region to stop the referendum - declared illegal by Spain's constitutional court. The Madrid government has ordered the Catalan regional police force, the Mossos d'Esquadra, to assist them .

Many of the extra officers drafted in are stationed in two ships in the port of Barcelona.

Police have also occupied the regional government's telecommunications centre.

Tom Burridge reports from one of the designated polling stations for the banned independence referendum
Image caption Tom Burridge reports from one of the designated polling stations for the banned independence referendum
Police have also been ordered to clear schools occupied by activists aiming to ensure the buildings can be used for voting.

Spanish government sources quoted by Reuters said police would decide for themselves how to enforce orders to stop people voting. The head of the Catalan police has urged officers to avoid using force.

Many of those inside the schools are parents and their children, who remained in the buildings after the end of lessons on Friday. Some told Reuters news agency that police had told them they could stay as long as they were not doing anything connected to Sunday's vote.

Why these are uncharted waters for Spain
Spain's moved to halt Catalan vote
Laia, a 41-year-old sociologist who is staying in a Barcelona school this evening, said the police had visited four times.

"They read us out the part of the court order that says no activities related to the preparation of the banned referendum are allowed," she told Reuters.

0 Replies
 
Lash
 
  2  
Reply Sat 30 Sep, 2017 05:39 pm
Centrox, did you travel to Catalonia for the protest? What is the basis of your interest??
Lash
 
  1  
Reply Sat 30 Sep, 2017 08:27 pm
https://www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/world/europe/with-kids-in-tow-catalonias-pro-independence-parents-occupy-polling-stations-in-mass-act-of-civil-disobedience-/2017/09/30/d346cbb4-a397-11e7-b573-8ec86cdfe1ed_story.html

Part of the article:

SABADELL, Spain — In a mass act of civil disobedience, organized by WhatsApp groups, encrypted messages and clandestine committees, a small army of parents and their children occupied hundreds of polling stations across Catalonia on Saturday, hoping to thwart efforts by the central government to shut down an independence referendum that Madrid calls illegal.

The remarkable occupation of elementary and high schools, which in Spain serve as polling stations, set the stage for an almost surreal confrontation between pro-independence Catalans and their central government.

The defenders of the vote were not trained cadres of activists, but ordinary, overextended and stressed parents from the neighborhoods, who carried babies on their hips and entreated rambunctious children to stop teasing their siblings.

As the occupiers were gulping coffee and sharing plates of pastries brought by volunteers, police units on Saturday started to sweep the schools to warn the parents that the buildings must be emptied by 6 a.m. Sunday, three hours before the controversial plebiscite is scheduled to begin.

Police have been instructed to clear the polling places but to use limited force.



Catalonia is vowing to press ahead with a vote on Oct. 1 on whether to declare independence from Spain. The referendum has divided Catalonians, and the Spanish government has called it illegal. (Raul Gallego Abellan/The Washington Post)
As children in playgrounds ran around chasing soccer balls and scribbling with crayons in classrooms, their parents were huddled in the hallways, sneaking a quick cigarette, scrolling their cellphones and worrying.

"I would not deny that we are nervous, because we don't know what is going to happen," said Roger Serra, a parent who spent the night at Enric Casassas primary school here alongside about 50 others.

Related: [In Catalonia’s independence vote, students want their say]

The people who came to occupy the buildings to defend the referendum were almost in disbelief, that in a prosperous, stable and globalized country in Europe in 2017, they suddenly found themselves at a modern-day version of the old barricades.

The families spent a restive night, watching Disney movies and curled in sleeping bags.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  2  
Reply Sat 30 Sep, 2017 11:29 pm
@centrox,
The mood of the Catalans heavily tipped off in recent times, when the Spanish Constitutional Court declared the statute of autonomy - which was negotiated with the Spanish government four years earlier - to be unconstitutional in 2010.
If Spain was a federal state, this conflict wouldn't have got the actual dimension.
0 Replies
 
centrox
 
  3  
Reply Sun 1 Oct, 2017 01:28 am
@Lash,
Lash wrote:
Centrox, did you travel to Catalonia for the protest? What is the basis of your interest??

I didn't travel there specially for the protest or referendum. I and my wife have been fond of Catalunya and its culture and language for years. We go for a stay several times a year, and it was a coincidence that we were in Girona last week. My interest, if you like, is that I am 100% in favour of Catalan independence.
0 Replies
 
InfraBlue
 
  2  
Reply Sun 1 Oct, 2017 02:01 am
In regard to the financial argument for separation, it looks like the separatists are willing to throw out the baby with the bathwater.

Sofia Bosch, reporting for CNBC wrote:

Here’s how bad economically a Spain-Catalonia split could really be

As the most prosperous of Spain's 17 regions, Catalonia houses roughly 19 percent of Spain's economy, benefiting from tourism, exports, manufacturing, and industry.

...

Using figures from official European and Catalonian organizations, Business Insider claimed earlier this year that the region would quickly gain about 16 billion euros yearly in the case of a split, as they would no longer have to pay taxes to Spain. This would then result in a loss of about 2 percent to the Spanish GDP (gross domestic product) yearly.

...

At the same time, Catalonia could take a potential hit, as 35.5 percent of Catalan exports are to the Spanish market. Catalonia would also have pay to create new state structures (embassies, central banks, etc.) which carry a large price tag.

Earlier this month, Spanish Economy Minister Luis de Guindos claimed that Catalonia could see its economy shrink by 25 to 30 percent and its unemployment double if it splits to form a separate state.

...

Spain's national public debt in 2016 was priced at roughly $1.18 trillion, according to central bank statistics. Meanwhile, Catalonia has amassed one of the largest public debts of Spain's regions, at roughly 72.2 billion euros ($86.9 billion) in 2016. Around 6 billion euros of this is for long-term securities that have been issued and the rest being various loans from different institutions.

Therefore, Catalonia accounts for 16.34 percent of Spain's debt, which is not a small price tag. This aspect, combined with the loss of Catalonia's tax revenues, would be a hit to the Spanish economy.

...

The success of Catalonia is determined heavily on whether or not they would assume a percentage of the Spanish debt and if they would be required to pay off their own debt. Either situation could prove to be detrimental to a new Catalan nation and would damage the potential for economic expansion.

more...
izzythepush
 
  0  
Reply Sun 1 Oct, 2017 03:31 am
@InfraBlue,
Do I really need to tell an American the importance of self-determination? Some things are more important than money, especially if the state is trying to stop you having a voice.

izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Oct, 2017 03:37 am
Latest from the BBC.

Quote:
Catalonia's independence referendum has begun in chaotic fashion, with clashes taking place as police attempt to prevent the vote from taking place.
The Spanish government has pledged to stop a poll that was declared illegal by the country's constitutional court.
Police officers are preventing people from voting, and seizing ballot papers and boxes at polling stations.
Nonetheless, Catalan government officials have predicted a big turnout.
The ballot papers contain just one question: "Do you want Catalonia to become an independent state in the form of a republic?" There are two boxes: Yes or No.
Ahead of the polls opening, the Catalan government said voters could print off their own ballot papers and use any polling station if their designated voting place was shut.
In the town of Girona, riot police smashed their way into a polling station where the region's leader Carles Puigdemont was due to vote.
Television footage showed them breaking the glass of the sports centre's entrance door and forcibly removing those attempting to vote.
However, Reuters news agency reports that Mr Puigdemont was still able to cast his ballot.
Meanwhile, reports from the regional capital Barcelona say two people have been injured after police charged pro-independence demonstrators.
Thousands of separatist supporters had occupied schools and other buildings that have been designated as voting centres ahead of the polls opening.
Many of those inside were parents and their children, who remained in the buildings after the end of lessons on Friday and bedded down in sleeping bags on gym mats.
In some areas, farmers positioned tractors on roads and in front of polling station doors, and school gates were taken away to make it harder for the authorities to seal buildings off.
But police insisted polling stations would not be allowed to open, and that those inside would be evicted.
Referendum organisers have called for peaceful resistance to any police action.
Thousands of extra police officers have been sent to the region, many of them based on two ships in the port of Barcelona.
The Spanish government has put policing in Catalonia under central control and ordered the regional force, the Mossos d'Esquadra, to help enforce the ban on the illegal referendum.
In a show of force ahead of the poll, Spanish authorities seized voting materials, imposed fines on top Catalan officials and temporarily detained dozens of politicians.
Police have also occupied the regional government's telecommunications centre.
Nonetheless, Catalan government officials have predicted a big turnout.
Catalonia, a wealthy region of 7.5 million people in north-eastern Spain, has its own language and culture.
It also has a high degree of autonomy, but is not recognised as a separate nation under the Spanish constitution.
Pressure for a vote on self-determination has grown over the past five years.
But Spanish unionists argue Catalonia already enjoys broad autonomy within Spain, along with other regions like the Basque Country and Galicia.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy says the vote goes against the constitution, which refers to "the indissoluble unity of the Spanish nation, the common and indivisible homeland of all Spaniards".
Central government spokesman Iñigo Mendez de Vigo accused the Catalan government of being inflexible and one-sided, but it is a charge that Catalan nationalists throw back at Madrid itself.
16% of Spain's population live in Catalonia, and it produces:
25.6% of Spain's exports
19% of Spain's GDP
20.7% of foreign investment
Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness, Eurostat, Bank of Spain
Demonstrations by independence campaigners have been largely peaceful.
"I don't believe there will be anyone who will use violence or who will want to provoke violence that will tarnish the irreproachable image of the Catalan independence movement as pacifist," Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont said.
On the eve of the vote, thousands of demonstrators calling for Spanish unity held rallies in cities across Spain, including in the Catalan capital Barcelona.
They waved Spanish flags and carried banners reading "Catalonia is Spain".


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-41457238
0 Replies
 
Lash
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Oct, 2017 04:33 am
The people are being attacked by the police.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/world/live/2017/oct/01/catalan-independence-referendum-spain-catalonia-vote-live

This is only a small bit :

Barcelona’s footballers have expressed their support for today’s referendum. Former captain Carles Puyol tweeted “voting is democracy” this morning, while Catalan defender Gerard Pique posted a photo casting a vote.

Former Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernandez said what is happening in Catalonia is “an embarrassment”, and called for the Spanish state to let Catalans vote in peace.




Updated at 6.30am EDT
Facebook Twitter Google plus
6.17am
Catalan president Carles Puigdemont has told reporters that “violence will not stop Catalans from voting.” The Catalan government says 38 people have been treated by emergency services in the disorder.


Facebook Twitter Google plus
6.07am
Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon has tweeted about the violent scenes seen in some parts of Catalonia this morning.


Facebook Twitter Google plus
6.00am
38 people treated by emergency services
Catalonia’s government says 38 people have been treated by emergency services due to “repression by Spanish police.”

0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Oct, 2017 04:58 am
Spain, as a nation, only came into existence at the beginning of the 16th century, when King Carlos, soon to be the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, inherited Castilla y Léon and Andalusia from his mother Juana, and the kingdom of Aragon from his grandfather Ferdinand, via his mother. Catalunya was a part of Aragon, with a considerable degree of independence, but has been attempting to break away from Spain for almost five hundred years now.

Ir's not as though this were news.

Well, perhaps it is to people who commonly don't pay attention to the rest of the world.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Oct, 2017 05:10 am
I blame Juana of Castile, known to her own people as Juana la loca, Crazy Joan. She was the daughter of Isabella, Queen Regnant of Castilla y Léon and conqueror of Andalusia, and of Ferdinand II of Aragon. She married Phillip the Handsome of Burgundy, and when he died, she made a royal progress through her kingdoms, with Phillip in a lead-lined coffin on a catafalque at her side--Crazy Joan indeed.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/70/Juan_de_Flandes_003.jpg
0 Replies
 
Lash
 
  0  
Reply Sun 1 Oct, 2017 05:14 am
Searching around for more information about the attempted peaceful revolution in Catalonia, and remembered Orwell fighting in the Spanish Civil War there. A great layer for anyone getting to know Catalan history.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/may/06/george-orwell-homage-to-catalonia-account-spanish-civil-war-wrong

Only part. I'd read the entire article to get a balanced view.

Unleashed on 17 July 1936 by a military coup against the democratically elected government of the Second Republic, the Spanish civil war was a rehearsal for the second world war. The British, French and American governments stood aside and permitted General Francisco Franco, with the substantial aid of Hitler and Mussolini, to defeat the republic. To this day, the war is remembered by many as “the last great cause”, the war of the volunteers of the International Brigades, of the bombing of Guernica and of the mini-civil war within the civil war fought in Barcelona as CNT anarchists and the Poum’s quasi-Trotskyists battled forces of the Catalan government, the Generalitat, backed by the communists of the PSUC.

Eighty years ago this week, the Ramblas of Barcelona echoed with gunfire. Much of what happened on the streets during the May days is well known thanks to George Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia, but not why it happened. Herbert Matthews, the great New York Times correspondent, summed up the consequent problem: “The book did more to blacken the loyalist cause than any work written by enemies of the Second Republic.” This is unfortunate since, for many thousands of people, Homage to Catalonia is the only book on the Spanish civil war that they will ever read.

An eyewitness account of two fragments of the war, the book presents two priceless pieces of reportage: the first a vivid account of the experiences of a militiaman on “a quiet sector of a quiet front” in Aragón, evoking the fear, the cold and, above all, the squalor, excrement and lice of the rat-infested trenches; the second a vibrant description of several days and nights spent on the roof terrace of the Poliorama theatre in the Ramblas while defending the Poum HQ across the street. Orwell’s account of the poisonous atmosphere in Barcelona during and after the May days of 1937 is invaluable, but marred by its assumption that the Stalinist suffocation of the revolution would lead to Franco’s eventual victory.
PUNKEY
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Oct, 2017 05:30 am
What is a "region" and are they individually governed? Does it have its iwn borders?
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  2  
Reply Sun 1 Oct, 2017 05:30 am
@Lash,
Lash wrote:
A great layer for anyone getting to know Catalan history.
Catalonia's history didn't start in last century - Catalonia was the first area of Hispania conquered by the Romans (and, of course, settled before: caves of Mollet, the Greek town of Empúries etc)
Setanta
 
  3  
Reply Sun 1 Oct, 2017 05:36 am
It's hilarious the way Sofia Lash Goth has been going around voting down my posts. If she can't see it, it must not be true.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Oct, 2017 05:45 am
@Walter Hinteler,
When Hugh Capet became the King of the Franks, the nobility of Languedoc refused to recognize his authority, and swore fealty to Aragon. Near the beginning of the Albigensian Crusade, King Pedro II of Aragon lead an army of Aragonese and Catalonians to fight Simon de Monfort, the French commander of the "crusaders." The Count of Toulouse, who was his vassal and his brother-in-law, advised besieging the French, but Pedro would not hear of it. He was a courageous and doughty fighter, but he was no kind of military man. He was killed in the battle with the French, and even though the French were heavily outnumbered, that was enough to secure the victory. There was more similarity between the language and culture of Languedoc and Catalunya than there was to their French and Spanish neighbors. I suspect that that accounts for the willingness of Catalonians to be a part of Aragon. But when Crazy Joan's son, Crazy Charlie, became the first King of Spain, and introduced the Inquisition, their taste for being Spanish quickly faded.
0 Replies
 
 

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