By Olivia Bertino, Web Editor
Catalonia streets overflow with protesters and police. Pro-independence groups march through the town, candles lighting their way. Spanish government continues to incarcerate leaders of the independence revolution. Civilians wait for the next step in the process of regaining control of Catalonia, Spain.
In 2014, Catalonia began discussions over the possibility of statehood and secession from its mother country. 90% of voters petitioned for statehood, with 80% of those voters prepared to fight for total independence. However, these numbers could be misleading; only around 2 million of Catalonia’s 7.5 million inhabitants submitted a vote.
A second independence referendum, held October 1st, explained that the 770,000 missing votes were due to Spanish blockades of polling stations. Officials in the Spanish government continue to outlaw these polls, creating a lapse in the number of voters at designated stations.
The Catalan region president, Carles Puigdemont, must decide whether to declare independence or remain loyal to Spain. After the October 1st voting which should enact an independence movement, Puigdemont had yet to decide whether or not to continue the movement or give in to Spanish requests.
A meeting held between Spanish prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, and Puigdemont concluded that the separatism will be put to an end. Puigdemont pressured for Rajoy to end the conflict within two months. His requests also addressed the police brutality among national police.
According to Puigdemont, this “repression against the Catalan people and government” was a main discussion point. Multiple police await trial for their failure to control protesters as well as the violent clashing between civilians and the police force.
Rajoy’s reaction to these grievances include little compromise, as he refused to reference any conflict between the national government and the Catalan region. The unacknowledged historic problems between the Spanish capital of Madrid and Catalan capital of Barcelona fueled more discord between the two powers.
Spanish central government set a deadline for Puigdemont’s resistance or compliance. As the deadline approached, Puigdemont refused to give an answer. Spanish officials theorize that this refusal to commit to an answer was Puigdemont’s strategy of bringing in Spanish authority without angering the Catalan separatists. Spanish government since started stripping Catalan government of its current officials.
Catalonia is known to be one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. Food, music, dress, and daily life all differ slightly from that of Spain itself. Outside of the immediate threat, Spain dwells in economic upset due to the lack of production and tourism in Catalonia during the violence. A secession would force the Spanish economy into turmoil since Catalonia makes up 19% of the country’s GDP. As violence continues, the region is unsure of the result. Civil war may ensue, or Spain will deny the individuality of the Catalan region.