The way I see it…

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The Way I see it…By Harvey Mann
Should the EUbe involved in the Catalonian Independence issue? Photo credit: Wikimedia

THE last time I saw scenes like the recent ones in Barcelona, was old news footage from Berlin filmed in the late 30s. Policemen and soldiers wearing swastikas on their arms, sacking shops and business office’s, piled books up and set light to them. They herded people like animals,away from government offices to eradicate themselves of Hitler’s opposition; often using excessive force,they beat people with clubs and rifle butts, as blood flowed freely.

Not quite so bad, the activity of the Guarda civil swooping on the pro-independence offices to seize papers and funds pledging support for the referendum campaign in Barcelona. Now please don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has any disposition of being another Hitler, or that his Government is Nazi orientated, however I am slightly worried about what is going on In Catalonia with the planned but banned referendum on October the 1st.

What I don’t understand is why the European Union have not intervened? The European Union legal system are the main instigators of the human rights laws. Certainly, in Britain when Scotland asked for a referendum Britain complied, the referendum was held, and Scotland voted against independence.

Neither am I defending the Catalonia Government rights to hold a referendum or against it, as it is supposedly against the Spanish constitutional laws, however the Catalonian’s should not have their human rights banned by Spain’s total denial of the Catalonians peoples wishes.

Recently, 14 officials and business owners were arrested after court orders, not before 4,000 extra Guardia Civil officers that had been drafted in seized 10 million voting slips.

With street scenes that are reminiscent of unstable South American countries, such as recent events in Venezuela, the populace of Barcelona turn out to demonstrate against the Guardia Civil raids. Thousands of Catalonians waving regional flags and chanting slogans against the Rajoy Government while police continued their raids on the offices of the regional economy ministry.The searches continued through the night as protesters attempted to block the exit of Guardia Civil officers as they tried to leave the offices, some of police vehicles were damaged.

Catalonia and Spain have been at odds for more than 500 years, When Franco died, Catalan nationalism was revived and eventually Catalonia was granted autonomy again under the 1978 constitution. A 2006 statute granted even greater powers, boosting Catalonia’s financial clout and describing it as a Nation, however Spain’s Constitutional court reversed much of the statute in 2010 this angered the regional authorities greatly.

The historic problem results from, as one Spanish man told me “Catalonia is rich, probably the richest region in Spain, but they don’t want to share their wealth with the poorer people.”

Many protesters claim that Rajoy has banned the referendum owing to his own political machinations,

But Rajoy says the banning was on the orders of the judge and had nothing to do with the Spanish Government, Rajoy went on to say,“that he doesn’t have to explain the rules of the law.”

The Catalan President Carles Puigdemont insists “that no court or government body can suspend his government”and says Spain has de facto suspended the self-government of Catalonia and has applied a de facto state of emergency.”

This as Pro-independence MPs, walked out of the debating chamber in disgust, and the Pro-left wing Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias said he was against the arrests and suggested the Government was taking political prisoners.

Prime Minister Rajoy continued to say,‘the Catalonians cannot hold a referendum, it was never legal or legitimate, it was just a pipe dream, it had been banned by the Spanish courts and it is against the constitution”, last week over 700 pro-independence local mayors were placed under house arrest for allegedly using council’s resources to arrange votes.

So now it is back to the European Union and their Human Rights laws. Is the E.U. non-interference denying the Catalonian People of voting, YES.

Have the E.U. asked the Spanish government about how they feel on denying the Catalonia’s human rights laws? NO, The E.U. believe the Spanish government have the right to do what they like in their own country as it does not contravene the E.U. laws. However, those scenes of the police raids in Barcelona of the Guarda civil and the protesters facing up to each other are reminiscent of mid-late 1930’s Berlin, and I thought the news footage from Barcelona was very unsettling.

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I worked for the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday for 30 years retiring as Associate Editor. I then travelled the world as a guest speaker on cruise ships as a professor of natural history and natural sciences. After spending several years working in East Africa and The Congo I also spent three years living with the mountain gorillas, the famed silverbacks of "gorillas in the mist" setting up a charity to protect them from poachers.

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