Spain’s plan to send boatloads of military police to Catalonia to prevent its independence referendum has backfired with dockers in two ports staging a boycott and a third refusing access.
The Express writes Police boats Blocked by Catalan ports as unrest threatens to Rip Spain Apart.
More than 4,000 members of Spain’s Guardia Civil are being dispatched to the troubled region amid concerns over divided loyalties in the autonomous community’s own police force, the Mossos d’ Esquadra.
Spanish authorities wanted to house the Guardia Civil officers on four cruise ships – two in Barcelona, one in Tarragona and another in Palamos.
But as thousands took to the streets to protest against the detention of Catalan officials, local dock workers joined the backlash.
The Assembly of Stevedores of the Port of Barcelona announced that workers would not provide any services to boats carrying security forces, a decision it said was taken “in defence of civil rights”.
Colleagues in Tarragona quickly followed suit and the Catalan government then denied permission to dock in Palamos – which, unlike Barcelona and Tarragona, falls under regional rather than national control.
More than 40,000 people have gathered in Barcelona to protest over the arrests and the intervention of the Spanish government in the Catalan independence vote.
Many of the angry protesters have been waving Catalonia’s red and yellow flag while chanting “We will vote” and “Hello Democracy!”
In a television address, Catalan’s President Carles Puigdemont said: “The Spanish state has by all rights intervened in Catalonia’s government and has established emergency rule.
“We condemn and reject the anti-democratic and totalitarian actions of the Spanish state.”
A spokesman for the Catalan National Assembly said: “They made a big mistake; we wanted to vote and they declared war.”
Catalans are split on the issue of independence but support for a vote is high and few are happy with Spanish police arresting Catalan leaders.
Tensions have been further fuelled by reports that some of those detained are likely to face charges of sedition, which carries a lengthy prison sentence.
Support for a Vote
The Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia (via Mish translation) notes ‘The Times’ joins foreign dailies asking for a referendum for Catalonia.
The Times joins the list foreign newspapers that support a referendum. Le Monde and the New York Times also support a referendum.
In an editorial, The Times, a historic British conservative daily, accuses prime minister Mariano Rajoy of “repression.”
The text of the British newspaper is especially blunt against the reaction of the Spanish state. The editorial maintains that Spain is in a serious “constitutional crisis” with risk of “rupture”, the greatest since “the end of the Franco dictatorship.”
The editorial also accuses Rajoy of “feeding the crisis”. The Times ventures to ask the central government to allow the referendum even if it is contrary to the Spanish Magna Carta.
Spain Seizes “.CAT” Domain
The New York Times reports In Catalonia, Spain Seizes the .Cat Internet Domain:
On the same day this week that the Spanish authorities stormed the offices of the Catalan regional government, detaining at least 14 people, a less-noticed raid took place.
The puntCat foundation, which oversees the registry of websites with the “.cat” domain, tweeted Wednesday that its offices had also been raided and that one of its senior executives had been arrested.
Given the web’s rich cat history, you’d think that domain names ending in .cat would be another online feline gold mine. [But] almost all sites with the .cat suffix belong to the Catalan-speaking community thanks to the efforts of the puntCAT (“dot-cat” in Catalan), the foundation approved in 2005 to manage its registry by Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, a global organization. That made it one of the first domain suffixes to explicitly refer to a language and culture, paving the way for others, when it first appeared online in 2006.
In a letter to ICANN, the foundation said that the Spanish authorities had asked it to “block all .cat domain names that may contain any kind of information about the forthcoming independence referendum.”
“We are being requested to censor content and suppress freedom of speech,” the organization added.
The internet naming corporation said, “We are aware of the reports about Fundacio PuntCAT, the registry operator for .CAT, and we continue to monitor the situation.”