Today’s events marked a turning point in Spain’s fragile relationship with Catalunya as Madrid’s government took total autonomy over the state. This comes after Catalunya prepare for another unconstitutional referendum vote for the 1st October.
Police officers forayed Catalan government offices on Wednesday, 22nd September and arrested 12 senior officials in an attempt to prevent a referendum in less than two weeks time.
President of the Generalitat of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont stated that the police invasion was “a co-ordinated police assault” that showed that Madrid “has de facto suspended self-government and applied a de facto state of emergency” in Catalunya.
In a statement, Spain’s interior ministry announced that they were cancelling leave for all Guardia Civil and national police officers in order to prevent the referendum. They are expected to be available between 20th September and 5th October.
The raids follow a day after the Guardia Civil police confiscated referendum documents from the offices of a private courier in Terrassa, a town located 30km outside Barcelona.
In a bid to stop the vote, referendum leaflets and posters have also been seized and official Catalunya referendum websites have been blocked.
The Spanish government opposes a Catalan referendum, upholding the Spanish constitution that prevents any vote of independence in all Spanish regions without legal consent. However, the Catalan government calls the right to self-determination with a referendum vote. This has lead to the Spanish constitutional crisis.
Barcelona Mayor, Ada Colau, tweeted her own feelings on the situation, stating that “It is a democratic scandal that institutions are scrapped and public positions are arrested for political reasons. We defend Catalan institutions.”
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”und” dir=”ltr”>Es un escàndol democràtic que s'escorcolli institucions i es detinguin càrrecs públics per motius polítics. Defensem institucions catalanes</p>— Ada Colau (@AdaColau) <a href=”https://twitter.com/AdaColau/status/910410999328624640">September 20, 2017</a></blockquote>
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Shortly after the announcement of the raids, thousands of protesters stood outside government buildings across the city.