Statement originally posted on SYG Facebook page, 01/10/2017
The Scottish Young Greens share the deep concerns of many international observers at the events unfolding in Catalonia today. Scenes of ordinary voters being greeted at the ballot box by batons and rubber bullets from the Guardia Civil are shocking and completely incompatible with democracy.
We do not claim to know what is best for the people of Catalonia, but it is their right to decide how they are governed. The Spanish Government justify their repressive actions on the grounds that the vote is unconstitutional. That strictly legal argument is true. But there has been wide support from both sides in Catalonia for a vote for a number of years now, and the authorities in Madrid have not made the slightest effort to accommodate one.
The example of Scotland’s referendum in 2014, following the Edinburgh Agreement between the Scottish and UK Governments, was there to be followed. Democracy in Europe, and indeed in Spain itself, has long been rooted in peaceful dialogue and constructive compromise. The Spanish Government have failed entirely to live up to these ideals, and meeting peaceful attempts to organise a vote with a violent crackdown has chilling echoes of Spain’s Francoist past.
An immediate end to repression and a negotiated settlement that allows the Catalan people a legal, free and fair vote on their status must be the only way forward to uphold democracy in Spain.