The problem of sovereignty in Catalonia has been a tough talking point for a lot of its residents, since the region was absorbed by Spain around 300 years ago. In recent years there has been a crescendo of angry voices from Catalan inhabitants, to raise the issue of reclaiming their autonomy. This evening could see the results of hundreds of years of bitter resentment and political shoving come to a head. On the 1st of October, Catalonia held a referendum to see whether it’s people want to split from the rest of Spain or stay together – the Spanish government physically intervened, declared the vote illegal and launched scenes of violence across the city of Barcelona in an attempt to claim ballot papers before they could be counted.
Following an already-terse relationship with the central government in Madrid, the Catalan government have rejected the Spanish President Mariano Rajoy’s order to stand down and accept the union, as to split the country is banned by the Spanish constitution. Many are up in arms, and have claimed that this goes against the very nature of democracy itself.
Carles Puigdemont, the President of Catalonia, today will make an announcement about the future of the region; to stay with Spain or to disembark and try to make it as an independent country. Whether the region will be able to enjoy ‘semi-autonomy’ like the Basque country is unknown, but it is unlikely that negotiations will be able to take place with tempers flying so high right now.
One of the biggest questions is whether or not Catalonia would be able to survive as an independent country or not – without support from the EU, it will be a struggle to thrive. Does Puigdemont really aim to drive the region off a potential cliff? Or is this just a way to open the negotiation process to ensure better conditions for the Catalan people?
At 1800 this evening, Puigdemont will make an official statement from the Ayudamento in Placa St Jaume. Near the building in Passeig Lluis Companys there will be huge screens erected, so that the public can [see into the building and hear the statement] and hear history as it’s being made. The air is tense with anticipation as to what will happen – the Spanish police are manning the streets, some 12,000 strong. Whatever comes from Puigdemont tonight will ultimately decide the future of Catalonia for generations to come.
So no matter what your opinion on what the fate of the region, stay safe out there!