Yesterday, after the regional parliament of Catalonia voted to declare independence, the Spanish government said: allow me to retort.
Basically, the Spanish government asked the regional government: does Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy look like a b*tch?
Madrid reacted to the Catalan parliament’s unilateral declaration of independence on Friday by firing the regional government and dismissing the head of the local police force.
Puigdemont and his cabinet were formally removed from their posts, and their powers and responsibilities taken over by central government in notices posted to the official state bulletin on Saturday morning.
It’s escalating further than that, with threats of rebellion charges:
Spain’s top prosecutor will seek rebellion charges for those responsible for a vote in favor of declaring an independent Catalan republic, an official spokesman said.
The spokesman said the prosecutor is looking to determine if the charges should be limited to the Catalan cabinet, including President Carles Puigdemont and Vice President Oriol Junqueras, or if they should also include members of the parliament’s governing board and lawmakers.
The official, who spoke under condition of anonymity in line with internal rules, said the charges could be brought as early as Monday.
Puigdemont is responding with a message of peaceful defiance:
The Catalan leader has issued a defiant response to Madrid’s decision to take direct control of Catalonia, calling for “democratic opposition” to the takeover.
In a brief video message issued on Saturday afternoon, Carles Puigdemont vowed to continue working to build “a free country”.
“We must do so resisting repression and threats, without ever abandoning, at any time, civic and peaceful conduct,” he said, adding that his government did not have or want “the argument of force”.
I don’t think that is going to work. Whoever commands the most men with guns is going to win this fight, at least in the near term. And right now, that looks like the Spanish government.
Complicating the way all good people should view all this is the fact that what the Catalan public wants is a lot more mixed than it might appear on the surface. The vote in the Catalan parliament yesterday was 70-10. But the 10 votes were a symbolic number left behind by a much larger group. More than 50 members of parliament who opposed secession had left in protest before the vote. They were going to lose, but not by much.
This provides a parallel to the referendum. While voters cast ballots overwhelmingly in favor of independence, virtually all voters who favored continuing the union stayed home, agreeing with the Spanish government that the vote itself was unconstitutional. Only 43% of eligible voters actually voted.
The EU rejects the Catalonian declaration of independence and refuses to recognize Catalonian independence. Scotland, which had held its own independence referendum, was a lonely voice stating a willingness to take the declaration at face value.
It’s all a thorny mess, and it’s likely to get resolved with violence.