The violence in Spain at the Catalonia referendum could have been avoided, but the organisers were quite happy to see it because they this will help their cause. The moral authority was lost on that day as more than 800 people were injured on Sunday by riot police.
Riot police shouldn’t have been used to attack protesters and civilians gathered to cast their ballots what they should have been used for was to arrest the ringleaders.
Any publicly elected minor official involved in this episode should be barred from public office for a period of 10 years, the ringleaders should be barred permanently plus receive jail sentences. Jail sentences not for organising the vote but for the violent acts which they must have known would result from their actions.
One thing which has to happen is consequences for these people.
Although Catalonia’s regional government declared a landslide win for the “yes” side, the result is void; the referendum didn’t achieve its goal, but ended up as a ugly affair which harks back to the time of the Spanish Civil War in the 1930’s.
Is this the way the Nationalist camp wish to go?
You see lots of things have been invented but one of them isn’t a human who can outrun a bullet.
After the polls closed, Catalan president Carles Puigdemont said Catalonia had “won the right to become an independent state.”
Actually the former reporter is spinning fake news; no right had been won because the vote was illegal. Carles Puigdemont is playing with fire, and I suspect down the line he will get burnt rather badly. His take that he would keep his pledge to declare independence unilaterally from Spain if the “yes” side wins is laughable, no one other than the nutters from the SNP in Scotland will be backing him, the European Union will be a ‘dry well’ where he and his crew are concerned.
Carles Puigdemont said:
“Today the Spanish state wrote another shameful page in its history with Catalonia.”
Apparently in his work history as a reporter he covered football reports and other news which may explain why he is so out of his depth, like a kid wandering about thinking they can do what they want when they want.
Puigdemont is now saying he would appeal to the European Union to look into alleged human rights violations during the vote. When this is interesting because Puigdemont is inviting the EU to recognise an illegal vote has having a legitimate basis and also attempt to entice the EU into getting involved with internal Spanish domestic politics.
The EU will not touch this with a barge pole!
Catalan regional government spokesman Jordi Turull told reporters that 90 per cent of the 2.26 million Catalans who voted chose the “yes” side in favour of independence but given there was a vote boycott by the No side, the result is meaningless because unless both sides engage in the process, any result will not be recognised.
Nearly 8 per cent of voters turned up to rejected independence but they should have stayed away, they were sucked into the event, basically conned.
It is said that no one knows precisely what will happen if Catalan officials actually follow through on their pledge to use the vote as a basis for declaring the northeastern region independent.
That is quite easy, the Catalan regional government will be shut down, the Spanish army will get involved and the region faces the prospect of martial law, and I suspect criminal trials.
In case like this, the legal route must be used to, if that means every elected official gets punted out into the street and loses their job……. Tough!
It was always expected to be violent and when clashes broke out less than an hour after polls opened, and hundreds of police armed with truncheons and rubber bullets were sent in. More than 800 people were injured, you could argue that the Spanish Government should have stepped in earlier and arrested the ringleaders, I am sure that if they got a taste of truncheons and rubber bullets, they would think twice before putting others in danger.
The Spanish government had declared illegal and unconstitutional which it was and Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said the vote only served to sow divisions, he is right, the Scottish experience is proof of that concept, post 2014, Scotland still hasn’t recovered and is a divided nation.
In Scotland, lots of people hate the Nationalists with a passion which didn’t exist pre 2014.
One thing I disagree with is the statement by Spanish Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis who said the violence, while “unfortunate” and “unpleasant” was “proportionate”. Actually, he got that wrong, the Spanish Government should never have allowed this situation to get this far before stepping in; they should have taken action sooner. They should have raid the place where the votes were printed and confiscated the shipment. It should never have got to the stage where Catalan health services treated 844 civilians in hospitals for injuries. Two people are in a serious condition and another person who was being treated for an eye injury that fit the profile of having been hit by a rubber bullet.
I don’t call that “proportionate” and neither does anyone else.
Mari Martinez, a 43-year-old waitress, said:
“I don’t lean toward independence, because we are part of Spain. Today’s violence is not good for anybody. We never should have gotten to this point. Politicians haven’t done their job, and they should have reached an agreement a long time ago.”
If Spain slides towards civil war it would be a great tragedy but this is ground that the Spanish have covered in the past, holding an illegal vote helps no one, this episode clearly shows this in spades.
One thing is certain; no one of note will be coming to support the Nationalist separatists, and the SNP in Scotland by supporting this referendum made a huge enemy of the Spanish Government, something which they will not be forgetting anytime soon.
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University