What you should know about Spain and the independence crisis

After several days of protests, the independence moods feel stronger and stronger in Catalonia .

Protesters in the Plaza de Sant Jaume in Barcelona,

Protesters in the Plaza de Sant Jaume in Barcelona. / Photo: Free Press - EFE

LatinAmerican Post | Laura Viviana Guevara Muñoz

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Leer en español: Lo que debe saber de España y la crisis independentista

On October 14, the Spanish Supreme Court announced the sentence of 12 independentist leaders, nine of whom have been in prison for two years. The ruling fueled the independence debate with which Catalonia has been working, and to maximize it the digital platform Tsunami Democràtic summoned several blockades, one of the most important being that of the airport, which caused different flight delays and cancellations.

The platform has been key for the protests. It is something like the different apps that have allowed the organization of protests in Hong Kong, because to be able to belong to it you need a QR code; the protests call advocate nonviolent civil disobedience and blockade, as La Vanguardia explains.

The defendants were found guilty, being the former president of the Generalitat, Oriol Junqueras, who faces a higher penalty (13 years) "for a crime of sedition along with that of embezzlement of public funds", as BBC recalls. In addition, several Spanish political parties agreed with the decision, further fueling the sense of protest.

This is how from Monday 14 to Friday 18 the demonstrations were taken throughout the region of Catalonia, and on the last day of protests gathered around 500,000 people, who went out to demonstrate. There were clashes with the civil guard, producing 17 arrests.

It is expected that on October 26 a unitary macromanifestation of political parties and sovereign entities will be held, as explained by France24. Given the magnitude of people that could be concentrated, both the Government and the Spanish Football League proposed moving the classic match for December 18; but before the refusal of the clubs the decision will be announced on October 22.

Also read: Why are they protesting in Spain?

What about Puigdemont?

Recall that the Catalan leader escaped in 2017, after being accused of the alleged crimes of rebellion, sedition and embezzlement after organizing the referendum of the independence of Catalonia in the same year. Since October of that year he was in Belgium, and just days ago he voluntarily went to the authorities of that country.

The justice of the Belgian country left him on probation, "while examining the extradition order issued by Spain against him," as Telesur explains. Puigdemont rejected the ruling issued by the Court and requested that the European Union act in the case of the Spanish independent movement.

Why do they want to separate?

Keep in mind that Catalonia is almost an autonomous region that has not only its own parliament, language or flag but also its own police force. Its great economic prosperity has fueled the feeling of separating from Spain, because as the BBC explains, for some Catalan nationalists the region sends a lot of money "to the poorest parts of Spain and from Madrid they are redistributed to the whole country."

The support of the independence referendum has strengthened even more. It was carried out and had great support, but was obsolete for the Spanish Government, and which in fact dissolved the regional Parliament to take control over the government of that region. It was not until 2018, when the new government swore and gained control over Catalonia.

Will there be an agreement?

After the fifth day of protests, the president of Catalonia, Quim Torra asked to advance negotiations with the Spanish government to discuss a possible solution. In this way, Torra asked Sánchez to "set the day and time for a negotiating table."

He also added that it was the responsibility and obligation of the president. “It is more urgent than ever. We have long demanded it for a political resolution of the conflict”, as CNN replied.

Given the above, the Spanish government asked for more control over the violence of the demonstrations, since so far it has not been proven. Similarly, they stressed that the possibility of independence will not be possible because it is not legal, according to a spokesman for the Ministry of Interior to the same media.

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