Catalonia, a state in northeast Spain with the regional capital of Barcelona, has recently opened a referendum for being able to vote on their secession from Spain. Its population has been called upon to answer the question of whether Catalonia should become independent.
The reason for this referendum is that Catalans have felt financially and culturally independent from Spain. Before the region became merged with Spanish rule in the 1500s, there was a defined culture with distinct language and traditions. As they became Spanish, they were no longer recognized as a unique and independent state of their own. Consequently, the Catalan identity had been altered, the citizens of Catalonia believe that Spanish occupation threatens their Catalan identity. There is also a sentiment among Catalans that the wealth in Catalonia has been supporting Spain more so than the central government in Madrid.
This voting on October 1st isn’t the first to be held in Catalonia; the first referendum was held three years ago. However, the Spanish government deemed it unconstitutional and therefore illegal, since they hold total power over holding official referendums and the nation cannot be separated. Even though it wasn’t a success, the referendum heightened the regional feeling of autonomy. The Prime Minister of Spain still views the poll as an intolerable breach of the Spanish constitution.
So far, there have been riots going on in the voting polls as the Spanish police However, as holding the referendum was illegal, there was enforcement from the Spanish central government and authorities. More than 300 civilians have been injured due to the brutality of Guardia Civil, while there seems to have been minor injuries within the police force as well.
The tension between the regional government authorities and the officials in the central government has escalated so high as to reach its pinnacle in this second referendum. It seems like the question asked isn’t whether Catalonia wants independence; it is whether Spain will let them.