Spain’s “ships of repression” are coming to help out.
Madrid’s crackdown on Catalonia is already having one major consequence, presumably unintended: many Catalans who were until recently staunchly opposed to the idea of national independence are now reconsidering their options.
A case in point: At last night’s demonstration, spread across multiple locations in Barcelona, were two friends of mine, one who is fanatically apolitical and the other who is a strong Catalan nationalist but who believes that independence would be a political and financial disaster for the region. It was their first ever political demonstration. If there is a vote on Oct-1, they will probably vote to secede.
The middle ground they and hundreds of thousands of others once occupied was obliterated yesterday when a judge in Madrid ordered Spain’s militarized police force, the Civil Guard, to round up over a dozen Catalan politicians in dawn raids. Many of them now face crushing daily fines of up to €12,000.
The Civil Guard also staged raids on key administrative buildings in Barcelona. The sight of balaclava-clad officers of the Civil Guard, one of the most potent symbols of the not-yet forgotten Franco dictatorship, crossing the threshold of the seats of Catalonia’s (very limited) power and arresting local politicians, was too much for the local population to bear…