Independence, the Catalan Way

Castellers

It needs to happen in my lifetime. We have wanted and deserved it for too long.” Emma, a student studying in Barcelona, is a Catalan Independiste. She belongs to the 50% of the population of Spain’s north-eastern region who would like to see Catalonia split from the Spanish state to form an autonomous country. And her cause is steadily gaining tangible political progress.

Rallies in September saw 1.5 million people take to Barcelona’s streets to demand independence for Catalunya. Since then the movement has catapulted into the world’s attention, although few outside of Catalonia thought the movement would come this far. Indeed, for months Spain’s central government in Madrid has been hoping that Catalonia will quieten down. Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy and his government have refused to open a dialogue on the issue and obstinately asserted that Spain’s “most-treasured jewel” will never become a separate state. This is in contrast to David Cameron’s co-operation thus far Scottish independence. Whilst Cameron may have recently trumpeted the “unbreakable bonds” between England and Scotland, in October his government nevertheless granted the Scottish Parliament the right to hold a legal referendum on independence. He said this was out of “respect” for the Scottish people and it does seem to have somewhat quashed the blaze of righteous anger that was driving support for the Scottish National Party. A January poll saw 23% of Scots desiring independence.

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