There’s been a lot of coverage in the UK over events in Catalonia and I wanted to see how Spanish newspapers were reporting the latest developments. Not surprisingly, the Spanish Government’s moves to prevent the disputed independence referendum, and the counter-reaction, have dominated the news in Spain.
El Mundo’s lead on Friday was an article reporting that Spanish prosecutors are considering sedition charges against the organizers of demonstrations called to block local police and Guardia Civil officers from accessing Catalan Government buildings (La Fiscalía de la Audiencia Nacional denuncia por sedición los disturbios de Barcelona). During the disturbances, Guardia Civil vehicles were attacked and protestors blocked local roads in order to prevent detainees being taken away. The article points out that the crime of sedition carries penalties of between eight or ten years in prison, or more if the perpetrators are deemed to be in a position of authority. Elsewhere in the paper there is anger at reports that Catalan schoolchildren have been encouraged to take part in demonstrations by their teachers.
There are lighter elements though – the paper reports on a video made by one of the policemen brought into Barcelona by the Government for counter-Referendum operations, who was less than impressed with the accommodation provided for him, a tiny cabin he will be sharing with three colleagues for two weeks (“Vaya zulito bueno”, policías del operativo por el 1-O denuncian las condiciones de sus alojamientos). To add insult to injury, one of the ferries the police are sleeping on is painted with massive pictures of Tweety Pie and Daffy Duck from the Warner Brothers’ Looney Tunes, a fact that has not gone unnoticed on social media.
A couple of days later, La Vanguardia was leading on reports that a senior officer, but not the most senior officer, of the Catalan police was attending a ccordination meeting with Guardia Civil and national police chiefs, in an article which highlights the political minefield the Mossos d’Esquadra are currently navigating and the unease which exists within the force (Los Mossos envían a su número tres a la primera reunión de coordinación contra el 1-O). The officer delegated to attend was reportedly due to hand over a legal report commissioned by the Catalan Government arguing that the Mossos cannot work under the command of the central Spanish authorities. And in Llega Octubre, an opinion piece which illustrates hardening attitudes in the rest of Spain, Enric Juliana gives a round-up of a pretty awful week in which Spain only narrowly avoided the spectacle of a full scale riot when far-right protestors surrounded a conference hosted in Saragossa by the left-wing Podemos party, which was debating compromise solutions to the Catalan crisis.