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Symbolic victory in Barcelona elections

Mon 11th Apr 2011

Residents of Barcelona have voted in favour of the idea of independence from Spain for the north-eastern region of Catalonia.

Although this was was spoken of as being a victory amongst various seperatist groups, it was largely a symbolic gesture as it had no legal or politcal basis.

The unofficial referendum was organised by pro-independence activists for residents of Barcelona alone, where less than a quarter of those eligible turned out to vote. Of them, over 90% voted in favour of independence.

Similar votes have already taken place in other towns and villages throughout the region. Catalonia has slowly taken a greater degree of autonomy from Spain and now has control over matters such as infrastructure and judicial affairs.

But many Catalans, proud of their cultural identity and language, believe that they are mistreated and dis-respected by the central government in Madrid.

As were the Basques, the Catalans were oppressed during the Franco years, which made it a crime to speak their various regional languages or celebrate their regional identities and cultures.

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