Catalonians are getting ready for their independence vote this Sunday. Even though it has been declared illegal both by the Spanish government and the Spanish constitutional court, even though Spain has sent 5,000 police officers to take over security in the region, even though Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has threatened them with his version of any legal fire and fury, the Catalonians will go ahead with the right to vote on Sunday no matter what comes at them.
Besides, they are now getting help from the UN’s legal body as to the rightfulness of their claim that voting is a human right in this case.
Two specialists working for the UN human rights council have stated that the halting of Sunday’s poll by the Spanish government would be a violation of fundamental rights and risks stifling the debate “at a critical moment for Spain’s democracy”.
“Regardless of the lawfulness of the referendum, the Spanish authorities have a responsibility to respect those rights that are essential to democratic societies,” the UN legal experts stated.
Striking a more compromising tone, the mayor of Catalonia’s biggest city, Barcelona, Mr Ada Colau, said the EU should “open a space for mediation between the Spanish and Catalan governments to find a negotiated and democratic solution to the conflict”.
Meanwhile the EU is prudent in its answers to the Catalonia referendum of this Sunday. The authorities there have declared that if a majority votes on Sunday for independence, they would declare themselves a new nation within 48 hours afterwards, and then apply for EU membership immediately.
The European commission spokesman in Brussels is declining to speculate as to the EU’s reaction should this occur:: “I will not speculate on what will happen 48 or 36 or 72 hours afterwards.”
The closer the vote comes, the more heated the debate is getting. Tensions are high in Catalonia indeed, and according to us, it will not improve until Sunday comes along.