The Observer reports: They call themselves the silenced; the Catalans who are opposed to independence but have been unable – and often afraid – to make their voice heard above the roaring passion of the secessionists.
Huge numbers are expected to protest on Sunday in Barcelona against the perceived hijacking of the political process by an independence movement that has so far never won the support of more than 48% of the population.
The march has been organised by Societat Civil Catalana (SCC), the main channel for anti-independence sentiment in what has suddenly become one of the most troubled regions in Europe. The march will call for a new phase of dialogue with the rest of Spain and will be attended by such luminaries as the Nobel-winning Peruvian novelist Mario Vargas Llosa and Josep Borrell, former president of the European parliament.
There is acute uncertainty over where the crisis will lead, after Spain’s constitutional court banned the Catalan parliament from sitting tomorrow to prevent it declaring independence. While some members of parliament said the sitting would go ahead as planned, eyes are now focused on a statement that Carles Puigdemont, the Catalan president, intends to make on Tuesday.
Puigdemont is under pressure to pull back from the brink by not declaring independence. The Barcelona Bar Association (ICAB) has published an open letter saying: “The Independent Commission for Mediation, Dialogue and Conciliation has told the president that it is essential to hold back on political decisions that will increase the tension between the state and Catalan governments.”
Saturday saw marches and demonstrations all over Spain, with tens of thousands gathering in Madrid’s Plaza Colón in favour of a united Spain. In dozens of towns and cities, including Barcelona, people joined the “white demonstrations” demanding dialogue. Dressed in white and without any flags, protesters marched under the single slogan in Spanish and Catalan: Hablemos/Parlem – let’s talk. [Continue reading…]