Catalan Leader Continues to Fight for Independence Despite Threats of Arrest

By Mei Manuel, October 05, 2017 17:10 PM

Catalonia Leader Carles Puigdemont(Twitter)

On Monday, Catalonia leader Carles Puigdemont announced that he was not afraid of being arrested for organizing the illegal referendum vote regarding the region's independence from Spain which occurred on Sunday.

Madrid had tried to stop the people from voting by sending riot police in the area; however, their use of truncheons and rubber bullets have earned them scrutiny from the international community and brought Spain in one of its largest constitutional crisis in the past decades.

The current Catalonian government under Puigdemont was expected to ask the regional parliament on Monday to call for Catalonia's independence after the preliminary referendum results were released. The results reflected that 90% of the voters support independence from Spain; but, the turnout was only around 43% of the Catalans in the region. The remaining percentage are said to be in favor of remaining under Spain.

According to the article released by Bild on Thursday, Puigdemont stressed that he was not afraid of his possible arrest and added "And I'm not surprised anymore about what the Spanish government is doing. My arrest is also possible, which would be a barbaric step."

As of the present time, the Spanish government and the judiciary have not spoken regarding arresting Puigdemont, however, they are accusing him of breaking the law for the illegal referendum. A Constitutional Court ruling is currently in effect, forbidding any referendum from taking place.

Puigdemont is adamant that he will be working towards secession now that the people of Catalonia have spoken even if Madrid will stop their progress. On Wednesday, Puigdemont had called for international mediation to begin the process; however, he also remarked that the referendum's results should be acknowledged.

The issue has now raised fears throughout Catalonia, which accounts to a fifth of the entire Spanish economy. Catalonia has its own language and culture and has its own government. It also pays taxes to Madrid, which has been a main source for contention between the two as Catalonia - a former principality of Spain - has complained their taxes are more than the central funding they receive from the Spanish government each year.

The Spanish government - under Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy - has stressed that they are open to multi-party talks between them and Catalonia to sort out any issues such as the tax deal. However, the region must give up its calls for independence once both regions have agreed to a compromise and Catalonia must "return to the path of law" before the negotiations can proceed.

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