Nothing will stop the independentists in Catalonia. ” We will not give up our rights, ” the president of the autonomous region reiterated Saturday. On the eve of the referendum on independence, Carles Puigdemont assured that everything was foreseen to ensure that the ballot banned by the judiciary took place in a normal way. But he also refers, in an interview with Agence France-Presse, the possibility of a mediation with Madrid that the yes or no prevails. One more element that comes to maintain the blur. We do not really know what will happen this Sunday in Catalonia.
Independent websites close one after the other. The information circulates with difficulty and many will be the 5.4 million Catalan voters called to participate in the poll who will not know where or how to vote.
The Catalan government, which is continuing its struggle with the Spanish government by maintaining its call for voting, affirms that there are alternatives to the polling stations that also close one after the other. He asks voters to go to the polls peacefully and without any particular sign.
One thousand three hundred potential polling stations have been sealed, according to the Catalan police only 163 colleges or schools are occupied and the occupants are ordered to leave the premises before 6:00 am.
The atmosphere is in the state of siege of the independence side. The neighbors and parents who occupy the college of Raval, where RFI was this Saturday morning, call for a rally at 5:00 AM, the night will be short and agonizing.
Extreme right-wing groups demonstrated Saturday night in the Catalan capital. The National Police, the Guardia Civil, is now moving aboard riot vehicles. The risk of the incident is high and everyone is responsible for any clashes that may occur.
And during this time, thousands of people, Spanish flags in hand, demonstrated Saturday in Barcelona, Madrid, and other major cities to defend the unity of Spain.
A long history of tense relations between Madrid and Barcelona
With the referendum for independence, there is a risk of reaching the climax of tension between Catalonia and the Spanish central government. But between Madrid and Barcelona, there has been a very tense relationship for centuries.
Each year, the Catalan nationalists commemorate their defeat of September 11, 1714, against King Philip V, born of the Bourbon dynasty, who abolished local freedoms. But the true birth of contemporary Catalan nationalism dates rather from the late nineteenth century.
This period of splendor culminated in 1931 with the creation of the Catalan Republic, confederated to Spain and enjoying a status of autonomy, embodied by the institution of the Generalitat of Catalonia.
After the dictatorship of Franco, the Generalitat de Catalunya was re-established in 1977. In the 2000s, when the Socialists were in power in Madrid, a new statute of Catalan autonomy was drafted and adopted. But the Spanish right has appealed to the Constitutional Court, which, in 2010, rejects 14 articles of the new statute of autonomy, draining much of its substance.
The separatist temptation is amplified by the fact that it is Madrid that raises taxes and exercises control over the public expenditure of Catalonia. One million people are walking down the street in Barcelona under the slogan “We are a nation, we decide .”
And after the victory of the independentists in the Catalan legislative elections of 2015, the referendum for independence is launched.