You may have seen a lot about Catalonia on the news lately. However, most of us have merely watched footage of inappropriate police conduct with open mouths aghast. How many of us know what’s actually happened? What’s led up to this series of events? Or where things might be heading in the future? If you’re feeling a little lost or confused, don’t worry. Here are the basics of the general situation!
The Catalan Crisis
The series of events culminating in the current crisis could be said to have started on the 1st October. On this date, the Catalan parliament held an independence referendum which Spain’s Madrid government had already deemed illegal. Essentially, Catalonian leaders ignored Madrid’s ruling and held voting for the referendum regardless. Spain’s militant police force, the Civil Guard, were told to stop people from voting in this illegal poll, however, were excessive with their use of force, for which resulted in shock on the world stage. Having counted the votes regardless, dismissed President Puigdemont declared Catalonia’s independence from Spain. In response, the Spanish Prime Minister Rajoy imposed article 155 of the Spanish constitution, which reinstated his control over Catalonia. He was then able to issue a warrant for Puigdemont’s arrest for his illegal actions (which include holding an illegal referendum and illegally pronouncing independence). You can Find Arrest Warrant Information and more about the process here.
Having been removed from power by the Spanish authorities, Puigdemont and four other former ministers fled to Belgium in a bid to avoid arrest. However, on the 5th November, all five individuals handed themselves in to police in Brussels and were incarcerated, agreeing to conform to the country’s laws. Following a ten-hour hearing, they were released. However, Puigdemont claims that they could not receive a fair trial if they are to return to Spain. It could be said that the individuals are hoping for political asylum. The formal charges could amount to thirty years jail sentence: rebellion, sedition, embezzlement of funds, and disobedience.
What’s to Come?
Having imposed article 155 of the Spanish constitution, Prime Minister Rajoy has also ordered regional elections for the 21st December. While this may seem a while away, it will approach sooner than you’d imagine. Things are currently unclear. Puigdemont continues to oppose the Spanish government, though from overseas rather than from Catalonia itself. It is unclear how much of the Catalonian population do wish for independence, as the referendum was illegal and many people were unable to vote or opted to avoid breaking the law. In short, there’s rebellion, yet no sense of direction or plan for the future. This is proving problematic for all parties involved.
So, there you have it! A basic and simple run through of the current events taking place in Catalonia and Madrid. If anything, things are definitely uncertain and the next month or so will see a slow yet significant series of events unfold. So, continue to check and read up on the current events if you want to keep on top of the story.