Comment 30 Sep 17

Homage to Catalonia, a Croatian Perspective

Growing euphoria in Catalonia over the announced independence referendum from Spain causes split emotions in a person who experienced the bloody wars of Yugoslavia.

Sven Milekic
Barcelona, Zagreb
Catalans protesting for independence. Photo: AP Photo/Francisco Seco

Drums, music, singing and shouting shattered the busy late summer night in the centre of Barcelona, packed out with tourists looking for famous sights, a place to eat or drink – and possibly wondering what the protest was about.

Tens of thousands of people had crowded in front of the Department of the Vice-Presidency and Economy of the Catalan Government on September 20, at the crossing with the famous Rambla, near Catalonia Square, protesting against the Madrid government’s arrests of 14 Catalan officials.

Government officials are generally only arrested en masse in large-scale corruption cases. But here, in Catalonia, they had been arrested for attempting to organise the referendum on independence set for October 1.

Although the police temporarily put some of the regional officials behind bars for 48 hours, and seized 10 million voting ballots, the Catalans have defiantly vowed to go ahead with the referendum – despite Madrid calling it illegal.

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