This past Sunday we saw in the Catalonia region of Spain a referendum take place on Catalan independence from Spain. The Prime Minister of Spain, Marino Rajoy, with the backing of the constitutional court there declared the vote illegal. Despite this Catalonia went ahead with the vote. This lead to raids by the police and civil guard on polling stations throughout the region. Almost nine hundred people were hurt along with thirty-three police officers. Ballots were seized along with ballot boxes. After the police left many polling stations went along with the vote anyway. Catalan officials say the measure was overwhelmingly approved. Nearly forty percent of the electorate boycotted the vote.
In this news clip, TIME covers the violence that ensued with the Catalan vote for independence:
Catalonia, with the exception of the reign of Fransisco Franco, has enjoyed a very large amount of autonomy for nearly a thousand years. In 2006, the Constitutional Court gave them even more authority over their affairs, but reversed their posting in 2010 angering the Catalans. Combine that with the great recession weakening the economy and budget cuts and you have an area that has developed a strong independence movement. In 2014, there was a non binding referendum that won with eighty percent of the vote for independence. Then, in 2015, separatists came to power in the region. Now, Spain is trying to keep Catalonia from breaking away, calling their vote illegal.
This BBC News clip covers why some Catalans want independence and some don’t.
It makes sense that Spain would not want to loose Catalonia, because it is one of the most wealthy regions in the country. The loss of the region would be a very harsh blow to the Spanish economy at a time when most countries are still recovering from the great recession. There is no telling how much economic damage their leaving would do.
Does the Catalonia region of Spain have the right to form its own country if it wants to by peaceful means? If so, does any region of any country that wants independence have the right to pursue it in a peaceful way?
In support of Catalonia’s right to vote for independence
— Siân Rosser-Evans #FBPE (@sianrosserevans) October 2, 2017
— Josep Goded (@josepgoded) October 2, 2017
— Denise Mitchell TD (@DMitchellTD) October 2, 2017
Terrible optics of Spanish govt's strong-arm tactics against Catalan referendum shows why (inevitable) secession in US need not be violent
— Audacious Epigone (@AudaciousEpigon) October 2, 2017
In opposition to Catalonia’s right to vote for independence
Just a reminder: #CatalanReferendum is illegal even if you believe it shouldn't be. It's the overreaction by police that makes it important.
— Georg Kleine (@GeorgKleine) October 2, 2017
CATALAN INDEPENDENCE: No resources, no army, no vision! Never a real country like Scotland – Yet hate tourists – The only real resource.
— Radio Hawkman 🔇🔉🔊 (@JHawKMaNbcN) September 22, 2017
So, what do you think? Do Catalans have the right to vote for their independence?