Europe

Catalonia referendum: Catalans' verdicts on latest turmoil

Barcelona protest Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The dispute has seen both pro- and anti-independence supporters taking to the streets

Spain continues to be in turmoil as political leaders go backwards and forwards about Catalonian independence - but what do ordinary Catalans think of the latest developments?

On Tuesday, Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont signed a declaration of independence, but halted implementation to allow negotiations between Catalonia and the Spanish government.

In response, Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy asked Mr Puigdemont on Wednesday to confirm if independence had been declared and suggested Spain could impose direct rule on the semi-autonomous region.

Pro-independence voter Lluis Guixe, 33, is a structural engineer from Barcelona, and does not believe that mediation between Spain and Catalonia will solve the crisis.

Image copyright Lluis Guixe
Image caption Lluis Guixe, 33, from Barcelona

"Spain will never negotiate a referendum of independence with Catalonia.

"The mentality of major parties and people outside Catalonia is quite old and undemocratic," Lluis told the BBC.

He acknowledges that a universal declaration of independence by Carles Puigdemont would be a "dramatic event that would create instability" but believes it is the only way forward if the Spanish government refuses to mediate.

"By delaying this decision we are only putting off the final crash between both institutions.

"The Catalan government is in a very difficult situation as they are fighting against a state and against the EU all together. Without any international support and any dialogue the Catalan outlook looks very grim."

But Yes voter Meritxell Puerto-Marquez says that Mr Puigdemont's actions were "smart".

"He realised that he couldn't declare Catalonia to be an independent state because of the pressure that big Catalan companies, the government and Europe has put on him," she explained.

Image copyright Meritxell Puerto-Marquez
Image caption Meritxell Puerto-Marquez

"I think he is being intelligent by opening the door to a dialogue with the Spanish government.

"If Spain wants to present itself as a democratic country beyond the constitution, they should definitely try to mediate."

However, she wants the mediation process to be concluded quickly: "We need some sort of foreign organisation to talk with both parts if we don't want the issue prolonged."

'Dictatorial'

Mercedes, who is 23 and lives in Barcelona, calls the actions of the Catalan leader "dictatorial".

"I do not think Mr Rajoy is going to dialogue with Mr Puigdemont because he has done everything he can to declare independence.

"Spain has always been there to dialogue, but we cannot support illegalities."

Image copyright Mercedes
Image caption Mercedes

She says Catalans were left confused about whether Mr Puigdemont had declared independence yesterday and says divisions have worsened.

"Some families are broken, people hate each other," she explained.

Another anti-independence voter, Anna Raymi, called Mr Puigdemont a "failed president".

"He has a disorientated view of what Catalans want. Declaring unilateral independence based on an illegal referendum, with illegal counting of votes, going against the rule of law, only benefits him and his political party," she explained.

She does not want Spain to enter a mediation process.

Image copyright Anna Raymi
Image caption Anna Raymi, 33

"You don't mediate with somebody who creates feelings of hate towards people for its origins. I have been questioned many times if I am a 'real' Catalan, due to my surname.

"The best way forward is to remove him and any political party who intends to break a country and the international legal system.

"The best way is to vote, but this time, to really vote in a regional and legal voting to elect a new Catalan parliament," she suggested.

By Georgina Rannard, UGC and Social News

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