Rajoy proved incompetence with Catalonia crackdown

Spain’s Catalonia region witnessed scenes of chaos and confusion on Sunday when the Spanish government intervened to prevent the Catalan people from voting in what it viewed as an unauthorized independence referendum. The clampdown by security forces left hundreds of people injured. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said there had been no self-determination referendum in Catalonia and praised police for performing their duty. Nevertheless, an adamant Catalonia government said voters had overwhelmingly supported separation from Spain. Press TV has called on Javier Farje, a political commentator from London, and Jim W. Dean, managing editor of the Veterans Today from Atlanta, to give their takes on the latest developments in the independence-seeking region of Spain.

Javier Farje acknowledged that the referendum was in fact “against the constitution” but also noted that the way the government in Madrid handled the situation in Catalonia provided proof that Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy was unfit for the position.

The heavy-handed crackdown on the people in Catalonia has once again showed that “Mariano Rajoy is not suited to be prime minister of Spain,” the commentator said, adding the government in Madrid was responsible for the police’s violent behavior toward local people.

Rajoy has tried to assert his authority, but he undermined it even further because “he is an extremely… incompetent politician and he has shown today how bad he is in terms of running a very volatile situation, which was already bad and is even worse now,” Farje noted.

As many as 800 people were reported to have sustained injuries in Sunday’s clashes with police.

Spanish Guardia Civil guards drag a man outside a polling station in Sant Julia de Ramis on October 1, 2017, the day of a referendum on independence for Catalonia banned by Madrid. (Photo by AFP)

Farje condemned the violence perpetrated against citizens in Catalonia, calling it a savage and appalling crackdown.

He argued that the “brutal” repression has added fuel to the “nationalist sentiments” of many people, who might have been opposed to the independence movement.

The analyst however noted that the Catalan independence seekers are partly to blame for the violence because they called an illegal referendum.

On Monday, Catalonia’s regional government announced that 90 percent of voters had supported independence from Spain.

Pointing out to the EU’s reaction to the Catalonia independence bid, Farje said the European Union is concerned about a domino effect across Europe.

However, he said, the EU will not side with the Spanish government and will reprimand Madrid for its violent treatment of the Catalonian people.

The other commentator Jim Dean said the game has changed now that the Spanish government has “overreacted” and broken the rule by attacking its own people.

“The [referendum] movement is going to be stronger now” because of the way the government and its riot police treated the Catalan people, he explained.

He denounced the deployment of riot police as “a Western political mistake.”

And in reference to the Spanish prime minister, the analyst said, “He is a dead man walking politically after what he did today.”

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