Catalonia: 'Widespread civil unrest and strikes are to be expected'

Catalonia: 'Widespread civil unrest and strikes are to be expected'

Some have protested against the jailing of ex-ministers

Friday, November 3, 2017

There will probably be widespread civil unrest in Catalonia and strikes following issues over independence, according to a professor.

Eight ex-ministers of the regional Catalan government have been jailed, following the region's attempt to declare independence. Spain's prosecutor has also requested that an arrest warrant is issued for former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont.

Sebastian Balfour, emeritus professor of contemporary Spanish studies at LSE, told Julia Hartley-Brewer: "What happens now is up for grabs I expect and in fact we’ve seen signs of it already this morning. I expect there to be widespread civil unrest I expect there to be strikes as well."

He also believes "the events of the last three months I think have pushed more people towards the idea of supporting independence, if only to protest against the Spanish government."

Balfour thinks the Spanish government should have gone with "a more political approach" and called for negotiation which would have been "more effective."

"Had they been able to find a subject for negotiation which didn’t involve either of the words autonomy or independence then there could well have been some progress made."

But overall the professor thinks "the problem lies with the inflexibility of the constitution" as "there is no right of self-determination in the Spanish constitution."

Listen to the full interview above