The violent scenes from across Catalonia this morning show that Madrid is more concerned with putting down the vote and the aspirations of the Catalan people than maintaining the veneer of Spanish democracy.
We hear continually from Madrid about their efforts in safeguarding democracy yet we see peaceful voters shot in the head and body with rubber projectiles, we see stun grenades being thrown into crowds and we see police officers smashing their way into polling stations and dragging old and young alike across streets and to their injury.
This is a dark day for European democracy.
Member of the Equality Council
Equality and Human Rights Advocate
Democrats across the globe are rightly baulking at Madrid’s continual escalation of tensions over an impending vote on Catalan Independence on 1st October.
This week has seen an unacceptable move towards suppression of democracy fuelled by the desire of Madrid to suppress the ability for Catalans to register their support (or otherwise) for Catalonian independence at any cost.
Having declared the referendum unlawful and unconstitutional, Madrid has seized ballot boxes, ballot papers, accreditation cards, mobilised tens of thousands of extra police officers, closed and sealed off just over half of Catalonia’s school buildings where the referendum was to be held, blocked access to over 160 websites containing information and support for the referendum and have today raided the telecommunications HQ of the Catalonian Government to cut-off its access to email and communication resources that Madrid fear could be used to coordinate the referendum.
SNP Spokesperson on Justice and Home Affairs and MP Joanna Cherry QC has joined a delegation of referendum observers which includes 33 parliamentarians from 17 countries. The delegation includes MP’s and MEP’s including Sinn Fein MEP Martina Anderson, Mick Barry TD of Irish Solidarity–People Before Profit and Hywel Williams a Welsh MP from Plaid Cymru. The delegation have been invited by Diplocat – The Public Diplomacy Council of Catalonia (which tweets in English at www.twitter.com/ThisIsCatalonia and in Catalan at www.twitter.com/diplocat) and a full list of parliamentarians making up the delegation is available here.
Regardless of where you stand on the substantive issue of Catalonian independence, I implore you to amplify social media posts which highlight the underhand and altogether undemocratic tactics being used by the Spanish Government to silence Catalans. This isn’t about unionists in Spain rubbishing or weakening the merits of the independence argument but rather a coordinated campaign of suppression and censorship designed to halt the independence debate all together while intimidating Catalonia and smothering the aspirations of her people. The ballot box should be a safe and courageous space for the electorate to register their assessment of their respective parliamentarians and parties; using undemocratic means to silence the people will undoubtedly conjure memories of the Movimiento.
The people of Catalonia should be free to be architects of their own future. Self determination is a fundamental right and regardless of where you stand on Catalonian independence; we all must strongly condemn these deplorable escalating actions by Madrid. The world is watching and we must all amplify calls for the wishes of the people of Catalonia to be respected.
Rob McDowall, Equality Council
Equality and Human Rights Advocate
I’ve tweeted this story on Twitter. Please RT to your own followers.