Gulf Times – Catalans warn of ‘threat’ from govt in Madrid

European Union MPs from Catalonia yesterday sparked an uproar in Spain by warning of a military threat from Madrid and seeking EU intervention. Four members of the European parliament warned in a letter to Brussels of a military menace against the northeastern region of Catalonia, where demands are growing for independence from the rest of Spain.

“We are writing to you to convey our deep concern over a series of threats of the use of military force against the Catalan population,” they wrote to European Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding. The MPs recalled that hundreds of thousands of people had taken to the streets of Barcelona on September 11 this year, the Catalan national day, calling for independence.  The popular protest helped to convince the powerful region’s president, Artur Mas, to call snap elections on November 25 with the aim of organizing a referendum on “self-determination”.

But the MPs said many people including senior members of the military had since said that Spanish armed forces had a constitutional duty to guarantee the territorial integrity of Spain. Such threats limit Catalan and Spanish democracy as well as freedom of expression and protest for people in Catalonia, they said in the letter dated October 22.  “In these circumstances, the European Union should intervene preventatively to guarantee that the resolution of the Catalan conflict be resolved in a peaceful, democratic manner.”

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