When I wrote the previous post about the classic Catalan calçotada a few days ago I had no idea what was taking place in Madrid this weekend.
What a Coincidence!
There was a rally by Catalan independence movement in the capital. The capital of Spain that is. They wouldn’t really call it that. Not their capital at least. What a bizarre coincidence. Well I thought so.
Actually, there are all kinds of rallies in the capital. All the time. Most of them I have no idea about nor interest in. I did not see any news yesterday and I only knew about this Catalan rally when I tweeted the calçotada post. I was looking for hashtags. Yes, I really did just type that! I can hardly believe it myself. Anyway, I noticed the hashtag #CatalansMarchOnMadrid. It immediately caught my eye, so I had to look into it. It seems aggressive at first sight eh? But there were no reports of trouble. At least not so far.
It seems almost inconceivable doesn’t it? How could such a protest take place with so many people in Madrid opposed to the Catalan separatists. Or is that pro-Spanish unity? I guess it depends on how you view it. The rally, it is said, was organised by more than 60 civil society groups from all over Spain. Many of those will be left wing groups who actually support the Catalan separatists. At least in that they both equally oppose the government(s). What’s that old saying? ‘My enemy’s enemy is my friend’?
The Aim of the Rally…
I believe the main aim of the rally was to protest against the upcoming trial of Señor Oriol Junqueras (and several others). Mr. Junqueras is the highest-ranking pro-independence leader after his superior, Carles Puigdemont, fled the country. It will come as no surprise that Mr. Puigdemont was not spotted in yesterday’s rally. I have already written my thoughts on that one (See previous posts.)
The banner at the head of the march read “Self determination is a right not a crime”. Indeed; it is not a crime. But I am fairly sure that Mr. Junqueras is not going to trial for believing in self-determination. Or even striving for it. He is on trial because he broke the law. Simple as that.
Breaking the Law?
Allegedly he broke more than one law. The charges include sedition and the misuse of public funds (but there are others). It was those public funds which were used to organise the “illegal” referendum over a year ago. The one which led to scenes of violence seen across the world on TV. One could argue that those scenes created a false version of events in the eyes of those outside of Spain. On the one hand people are sick of politicians getting away with things while us common folk never escape breaking the law. On the other hand, there is a large amount of political idealism and some sympathy for the Catalans. If these people really did break the law(s) then justice must be seen to be done.
Things are never simple these days. Were they ever? Probably not. Whatever happens it will be a fine line for the Spanish government to walk.
Meanwhile, Oz beckons…
This weekend Dani’s mum has left for another business trip to Australia. Meanwhile, I have been getting in touch with some old (Australian) colleagues and an old friend who has lived there for many years. If the move goes ahead their advice will be highly valued.
There is still a lot of uncertainty so right now so any move down under still seems a long way off. More on that one is sure to follow…