Chaos in Catalonia

Grace Fields, News Editor

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Catalonia, a region of Spain, has been fighting for its independence from the country in an escalating battle.

 

A map of Spain and Catalonia

 

On Oct. 1, Catalonia held an independence referendum to determine whether the region will form its own country. Spain, however, declared the referendum illegal, sending Spanish police to prevent the voting.

 

Violence broke out when the Spanish Police attempted to stop the voters, and several hundred people were injured. Police shot rubber bullets at Catalonians and beat them with their batons, forcefully removing ballot boxes and destroying voting stations.

 

Only 43% of the population voted, BBC reported, but of that group, 90% of the votes were for independence.

 

A photo of the violence in Catalonia

 

The vote was considered illegal by the Spanish government, and Catalonia has since been warned to not declare its independence.

 

Spain’s Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, made it known that he could take away Catalonia’s autonomy if it comes to that. New government appointments would be made in Catalonia, and the Spanish government would take control of the region’s finances.

 

The Guardian reported that Rajoy told the Spanish Parliament that, “the government’s response is the only one possible, given the stance of the Catalan institutions.”

The Prime Minister of Spain, Mariano Rajoy

 

If Catalonia does declare independence despite Spain’s threats, Spain would crack down on the region, taking control of it no matter the opposition.

 

Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution gives the Spanish Government the ability to suspend Catalonia’s autonomy.

 

Before the conflict reaches this point, Spain’s Senate is meeting to discuss a list of proposed measures to resolve it. The measures would not dissolve the Catalonian government or completely rid it of its autonomy.

 

A Spanish Police Officer beating Catalonian citizens

 

Other countries in the European Union are supporting Spanish rather than Catalonian efforts. France, Italy, Belgium, Germany, and the U.K. have announced their siding with Spain. Supporting Spain would help deter regions of these countries from separating.

 

Catalonia’s attempts might lead to the attempted independence of regions of other countries, increasing nationalism throughout Europe. Which country will be next? Could the United States be expecting a Cal-exit anytime soon?