SNP Youth delegation will head to Catalonia before independence referendum

The Spanish prime minister is on record saying “there will be no referendum” for Catalonia next month

THE SNP youth are heading to Catalonia to show support for the planned independence referendum. 

Around 20 members of the group will be joined by Plaid Cymru Infanc (youth) when they head off on 28 September. 

The referendum in Catalonia, scheduled to be held on 1 October, has faced tough opposition from Spanish authorities.

‘Over the past two years, we’ve forged strong relationships with other leftwing independence movements around Europe – especially with Catalonia.’ SNP Youth

SNP Youth National Vice Convener Rory Steel said: “Over the past two years, we’ve forged strong relationships with other leftwing independence movements around Europe – especially with Catalonia.

 “We attended la Diada (National Catalan Day) last year and we felt that it would be important to stand with our friends in JERC (Esquerra Republicana Youth) and Catalonia for their right to self-determination and support them in gaining their independence.”

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has instructed Madrid’s Constitutional Court to investigate the legality of the proposed referendum, which they subsequently outlawed.

Spanish authorities have since raided printers looking for ballot papers and threatened Catalan officials with prosecution should they facilitate any vote.

The Scottish Government released a statement that claimed the people of Catalonia should have the right to “self-determination” in opposition to Spain’s stance on the matter.

Steel agreed, he said: ““The Spanish Government’s response is authoritarian and a complete insult to democracy. 

Regardless of peoples’ stance on independence, other states around Europe should be publicly condemning Madrid’s actions and supporting the democratic right to self-determination.

 “Arresting and barring politicians from public office, sending jackbooted police officers to raid printing presses to seize ballots, and threatening to turn off power in buildings which facilitate a democratic process – the actions of Rajoy and his government reek of a fascist hangover from Franco’s Spain.”

The latest reports from Catalonia suggest Spain has taken control of their regional government’s finances, a move that was threatened by Spain on Friday.

The measure is thought to be a bid to strip the Catalan Government from being able to hold the referendum next month.

The Guardian reports that Spain has already shut down the referendum website, but Catalan president Carles Puigdemont posted another link to allow people top access the site on his Twitter.

Reports also suggest Puigdemont and Ada Colau, the mayor of Catalan capital Barcelona, have pleaded with Rajoy for dialogue to end any dispute on the legality of the vote.

However, its thought he responded by agreeing to meet to discuss any matter - except the prospect of a referendum.

“The Scottish Government’s statement was welcome, but I don’t think it went far enough to condemn the actions of Madrid which are unacceptable.” SNP Youth

SNP youth member Steel welcomed the Scottish Government’s condemnation of Spain, but asked them to go further. 

READ MORE: The Catalans right to self-determination is under attack – our First Minister must show solidarity

He said: “The Scottish Government’s statement was welcome, but I don’t think it went far enough to condemn the actions of Madrid which are unacceptable.

 “Activists in Scotland and Catalonia feed off each other’s energy. When we had our referendum, it inspired many Catalans to go further. Their pursuit of self-determination will do the same here in Scotland.”

Cabinet Secretary for External Affairs Fiona Hyslop said: “The decision over Catalonia’s future direction is a matter for the people who live there, and the Catalan and Spanish Governments are perfectly entitled to take positions for and against independence.

“However, all peoples have the right to self-determination and to choose the form of government best suited to their needs, a principle which is enshrined in the UN Charter.”

Picture courtesy of Marc Puig i Perez

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