Irish Republican News · September 23, 2017
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: ‘Freedom for Catalonia’
‘Freedom for Catalonia’

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A sudden and violent attempt to suppress the Catalan independence movement by the Madrid government has shocked those struggling for self-determination across the world.

Describing the independence referendum in Catalonia as a “democratic imperative”, Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams TD said that the people there must be allowed to decide their own future.

He was speaking after Spanish national police stormed ministries and buildings in Barcelona belonging to Catalonia’s regional government to put a stop to the referendum.

The Guardia Civil, which acts with the authority of Madrid’s interior ministry, searched for “evidence” regarding the vote.

In the early hours of the morning armed officers arrived at various Catalan ministries, including the economy department, foreign affairs department, and social affairs department. More than a dozen Catalan officials were arrested, including the chief aide to Catalonia’s deputy prime minister.

Mayors of Catalan towns who back the referendum were also interrogated and threatened with arrest, while documentation relating to the poll was seized.

Pro-independence crowds formed outside the regional ministries in support of the provincial government and in protest against the raids and searches.

For some, their brought back painful memories the Spanish Civil war in the 1930s, when republicans and socialists, supported by the Catalan government, died fighting against the fascist dictatorship of General Franco.

“It is unacceptable for there to be political prisoners in a European democracy. The [governing party] Partido Popular leads us to an authoritarian regression that cannot be tolerated,” a spokesperson for Podemos said on social media.

Carles Puigdemont, the president of the Catalonian government, said the Madrid authorities had “de facto suspended” home rule in Catalonia.

Thousands of additional Guardia Civil have now been sent to the area ahead of the referendum. The growing police presence and aggressive crackdowns are fuelling mounting protests among the Catalan population, with thousands taking to the streets of Barcelona, and dock workers refusing to provide services to the police arriving on ferries.

The secession referendum is scheduled for October 1, and top regional officials insist the vote will go on as scheduled.

There is strong support in Ireland for Catalan independence.

“The future of Catalonia should be decided by the Catalan people,” Mr Adams said.

“Those who truly cherish the principles of democracy, have nothing to fear from Catalonia having an independence referendum. In fact, given that significant numbers of Catalans have repeatedly expressed their desire to vote on their political future, the referendum should be embraced as a democratic imperative.

“The Spanish Government has a moral responsibility to respect the legislation passed by the Government of Catalonia. Mariano Rajoy’s administration should engage in meaningful discussions with Catalan representatives to ensure that the vote goes ahead, and without coercion.

“To prevent the referendum from taking place would be an affront to democratic ideals. Let the people of Catalonia have their say.”

Scottish Cabinet secretary for external affairs Fiona Hyslop said “that all peoples have the right to self-determination and to choose the form of government best suited to their needs, a principle which is enshrined in the UN Charter.”

She said that the governments in London and Edinburgh had been able “to come together to agree a process to allow the people to decide”.

“It is essential that democracy and civil rights are respected in all countries,” she added.

© 2017 Irish Republican News