Police raids in Catalonia spark widespread protests

  • Tomáš Hošek
  • 22.9.2017 16:49

On Wednesday 20 September, the Spanish paramilitary police, Guardia Civil, arrested up to 14 Catalan government officials and raided dozens of regional ministries and offices. Tens of thousands of Catalans supporting the region’s secession from Spain subsequently took to the streets of Barcelona to protest the raids and arrests, with several skirmishes with the police being reported in front of buildings of regional foreign and economy ministries. The protests have spread to Galicia, Valencia, and the Basque Country as well.

The central government in Madrid seeks to prevent the realization of the Catalan independence referendum scheduled for 1 October. The regional government’s President, Carles Puigdemont, called the new course of events a “de facto a state of emergency” and accused Madrid of authoritarian practices. According to the central government’s premier, Mariano Rajoy, the actions of Catalan officials, on the other hand, threaten Spanish national sovereignty. Earlier this month, Spain’s Constitutional Court called the Catalan referendum law illegal, but according to Catalan politicians, nothing is preventing the vote from happening. Last week, the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said he would respect the results of a yes vote in the referendum, adding that Catalonia would then be free to apply for an EU membership.

About author: Tomáš Hošek

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