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Catalan president says Madrid is suspending region’s autonomy: Police raid Catalan government buildings in Barcelona and arrest 12 senior officials in run-up to banned independence votehttps://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/sep/20/spain-guardia-civil-raid-catalan-government-hq-referendum-row

The Principality of Catalonia (1608) – Map of Catalonia entitled Cataloniae principatus novissima et accurata descriptio printed in Antwerp in 1608 by Jan Baptist Vrients.

2017:Spain crisis: ‘stop this radicalism and disobedience,’ PM tells Catalan leaders: Mariano Rajoy says region must stop ‘escalating’ independence standoff after thousands protest at police raids government buildings in Barcelonahttps://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/sep/20/spain-guardia-civil-raid-catalan-government-hq-referendum-row

1939: “The defeat of the Second Spanish Republic in the Spanish Civil War brought fascist Francisco Franco to power as dictator. His regime imposed linguistic, political and cultural restrictions across Spain. In Catalonia, any kind of public activities associated with Catalan nationalism, republicanism, anarchism, socialism, liberalism, democracy or communism, including the publication of books on those subjects or simply discussion of them in open meetings, was banned.

Franco’s regime banned the use of Catalan in government-run institutions and during public events, and also the Catalan institutions of self-government were abolished. The pro-Republic of Spain President of Catalonia, Lluís Companys, was taken to Spain from his exile in the German-occupied France, and was tortured and executed in the Montjuïc Castle of Barcelona for the crime of ‘military rebellion’.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catalonia

1 April 1939:
Republican armies surrender. General Franco declares the war to be over.” https://www2.warwick.ac.uk/services/library/mrc/explorefurther/digital/scw/more/simpletimeline2/ Franco was dictator of Spain from 1939 until his death in 1975 (20 November) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francisco_Franco

23 August 1939:
The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, Nazi–Soviet Neutrality Pact divided Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, and Romania between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia.

Summary of Orwell’s account of his participation in the Spanish Civil War and the complexities: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homage_to_Catalonia

Spanish police raid Catalan government to halt banned referendum
Posted:Wed, 20 Sep 2017 17:58:45 -0400
MADRID/BARCELONA (Reuters) – Spanish police raided Catalan government offices and arrested officials on Wednesday to halt a banned referendum on independence, an action the regional president said meant Madrid had effectively taken over his administration.
“. http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/Reuters/worldNews/~3/DxgPuvgB8lw/spanish-police-raid-catalan-government-to-halt-banned-referendum-idUSKCN1BV0U0

The smaller the country the more one person’s vote counts. Thus, from the viewpoint of democracy smaller should be better. From the viewpoint of militarism larger is stronger. Russia-Putin may well be supporting independence movements to weaken Europe militarily. However, he needs to lead by example, as Russia has the largest land-area of any country. Instead of gobbling up other countries, or parts thereof, like Crimea, he needs to break-up Russia into small countries. How can tiny Liechtenstein be a country and Russia be a country? It makes no sense at all.

Via Common Dreams:
Urgent: Forced Takeover of Catalan Government Institutions by Spanish Police
The people of Spain’s Catalan region are in the streets as the Spanish government suspends autonomy and seizes ballots ahead of upcoming referendum by Thomas S. Harrington, Published on Wednesday, September 20, 2017

I just got of the phone with Josep Maria Sole Sabaté, my friend and a leading Catalan historian and public intellectual. He was nothing short of breathless as he described the helicopters flying overhead stated flatly that he was in the the midst of a coup being carried out by the Spanish State. 

He wanted to get in touch with me and others “out there” because he was not sure how much longer free communication would be available to him and other out in the street protesting against the Spanish central government’s arrest of members of the Catalan Autonomous government

As of this writing on Wednesday, at least six agencies of the Catalan Government have been the object of forced police searches and thirteen, mostly mid-level members of the Catalan government, have been arrested.  

The homes of two the leading architects of the incipient Catalan state, Carles Viver Pi i Sunyer and ex Spanish judge Santi Vidal, have been searched by police.  The headquarters of the far-left CUP, part of the pro-vote coalition in the Catalan Parliament, has been surrounded by police. 

Leader of the Catalan National Congress Jordi Sanchez as well as Jordi Cuixart, head of a major Catalan cultural organization called Omnium, have both called on Catalans to come into the streets. According to reports, people have done so and created a massive presence. 

The mayor of Barcelona Ada Colau, who has been highly ambivalent regarding the referendum that is scheduled to take place on October 1st, has now come out firmly for the referendum and against the crackdown taking place. Albano Dante Fachin, head of the Podemos branch in Catalonia, which  has been similarly ambivalent, is now off the fence and fully supporting the right to decree and denouncing the  aggression coming from the Spanish government in Madrid.

The Catalan President Puigdement has called an extraordinary meeting of his government. The president of the Catalan Parliament, Carme Forcadell has gone there to join him. At this moment, Puigdemont is currently in the Generalitat Palace, home of the Catalan government meeting with his ministers. Crowds are outside in the Saint James square in the very heart of the city of Barcelona where both the Gneralitat and City Hall are located. People are lying down in the Via Laietana, a short walk away,  one of the city’s  main thoroughfares, in order to impede the Civil Guard’s ability to march upon government buildings. 

The Ex-president of Catalonia, Artur Mas has said flatly that the vote will go on.  Joan Tarda, one of the representatives of the Catalan Left Republican Party in the Parliament in Madrid, has made a public appeal for calm. 

The Catalanist have received messages and protest of support from the Basque Country, where people have also taken to the streets, and Madrid itself, where a pro-democracy demonstration is currently taking place.

The Barcelona Football Club has come out in favor of those seeking to vote on October 1st.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

Thomas S. Harrington is a professor of Hispanic Studies at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut and the author of the recently published book, Livin’ la Vida Barroca: American Culture in a Time of Imperial Orthodoxies.” Emphasis our own. See original here: https://www.commondreams.org/views/2017/09/20/urgent-forced-takeover-catalan-government-institutions-spanish-police