Protests in Catalonia during last Wednesdays regional strike taken by Anna Enjuanes-Marti

MMU lecturer: opinions divided over Catalonia independence crisis

  • Spanish government strongly opposed referendum and did everything in its powers to stop activists
  • 'Everyone should know that the violence on 1 October happened. We are not exaggerating'

AN MMU lecturer has spoken out about the ongoing politial crisis in Spain over Catalonia’s demand for independence. 

The crisis began after the Catalonian regional government held an independence referendum on 1 October.

The Spanish government strongly opposed the referendum and did everything in its powers to stop the referendum from going ahead, including seizing ballot boxes from polling stations and preventing people from voting. The Spanish constitutional court also backed the government’s opposition to the vote and declared the referendum illegal.

However, the violent scenes witnessed throughout Catalonia were not widely condemned by the European Union or neighbouring countries who declared the crisis to be “an internal matter”.

The Northern Quota spoke to Manchester Metropolitan University Spanish lecturer Idoya Puig, who is against Catalonian independence, and to Anna Enjuanes-Marti, who lives near Barcelona and is in favour of independence

Idoya said: “There have been tension for a long time, but divisions have escalated in recent years. The Spanish government unfortunately has not been very sympathetic to some of these claims during these years and that has exacerbated the independent feeling instead of diffusing it.”

When asked how the Spanish government responded to the crisis, Idoya said: “The Spanish government realise how serious the situation is because the Catalan government is playing a very dangerously game, as breaking the law can undermine the very basis of Spain’s democratic system.”

However, Anna Enjuanes-Marti, a teaching assistant, who lives near Barcelona disagrees: “I wasn’t initially in favour of Catalan independence. But after the Spanish government did not accept the result of a referendum over self-determination in terms of language and culture in 2010, I changed my mind.”

She strongly condemned the actions of the Spanish government: “The Spanish Government should be ashamed because what they did that day specifically when we were defending our polling stations they were violating our human rights.

“Everyone should know that the violence on the 1st October happened. We are not exaggerating.”

The teaching assistant also spoke of her concern about the Spanish Government imposing direct rule in Catalonia: “Every step the Spanish government takes is worse and worse. These people do not represent us now, they have no right to impose anything.”

Anna believes that talks could resolve the crisis: “The way to resolve the crisis is for talks to be held between the Spanish and Catalan Governments. However, the government doesn’t believe the Catalonian government so they won’t sit to talk. It’s difficult.”