Wahington Post – Spain crisis transforms Catalans who never supported independence before into separatists
BARCELONA, Spain — Three weeks after a massive Catalan separatist march in Barcelona — the biggest since the 1970s — the independence flags still flutter from balconies across Spain’s second largest city.
Spain’s crushing recession has had this divisive consequence: soaring popular sentiment in Catalonia that the affluent region would be better off as separate nation.
On Thursday, regional lawmakers voted to hold a referendum for Catalonia’s seven million citizens to decide whether they want to break away from Spain. The Spanish government says that the referendum would be unconstitutional. And it’s unclear if the “Yes” vote would win — even in these restless times.
But it looks more likely than ever that Catalonia may ask to go its own way.
“I have a big Catalan flag on the balcony. I put it up a week before the demonstration on Sept. 11 and it is still hanging there,” said Gemma Mondon, 46, a mother of two. “I think we would be better off if we can manage our money. I think we would do much better.”
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