Catalonia's foreign secretary: 'The more Spain represses us, the more support we have for independence'

Catalonia is due to hold a referendum on October 1

Catalonia is due to hold a referendum on October 1

Monday, September 18, 2017

A leading Catalan politician has told talkRADIO that the Spanish government's attempts to suppress the region's forthcoming independence referendum are backfiring - in fact they are fuelling support for secession.

The wealthy Spanish region is holding an independence referendum on October 1, but the national government has consistently maintained that the referendum is illegal. 

Last week the Spanish interior ministry deployed police officers from across the country to Catalonia, to investigate preparations for the referendum and close ballot boxes. Madrid has also announced its intention to prosecute hundreds of mayors across Catalonia.

Catalonia's foreign affairs secretary Maria Badia said "the police is [attending] all the debates and trying to ban them, they are entering to the printing houses, they are collecting the material, they are trying to [discourage] everybody.

"There are 729 mayors they have been advised and investigated. All the Catalan government has been notified."

However Badia said the Spanish government's actions are actually having the reverse effect. "As much as the government of Spain in this way, much is the support from people in Catalonia - and also outside Catalonia."

Badia insisted Catalonia intends to go ahead with the referendum, but will do so in a peaceful way.

"Everything is being done in a proper manner, as proper as we can. You know the way we would like to do it would be the way the Scottish people did it, but that has not been possible."

"We should start talking around the table and trying to find a way a solution - because as you say Scottish people were able to vote and there was an agreement. From Quebec, also, it was the same. Why is it different in Spain?

"The debate is not about Catalonia. The debate is about democracy. The right to vote."

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