Over 2 million people voted in Sunday’s referendum on whether Catalonia should become an independent state. The government of the province has claimed that over 90% were in favour of breaking away from Spain. Before the referendum took place , Spain’s Supreme Court ruled that the vote was unconstitutional.
The Spanish government in Madrid sent thousand s of policemen and other security officers to Catalonia to stop people from voting. Police in Barcelona and other towns fired rubber bullets at protesters and tried to stop people from going to schools and other public buildings used as voting stations. Hundreds of people were injured, many of them seriously.
About 7 million people live in Spain’s northeastern province. Catalonia has its own language and culture. In the past decades it has received more and more autonomy. However, Catalonian separatists still want independence and their own country. They say that the region is a rich part of Spain and keeps pouring money into poorer parts of the country. Catalonia is highly industrialised and represents about a fifth of Spain’s GDP.
The European Union fears that Catalonia may declare independence on its own and trigger a political crisis on the Iberian peninsula. This may lead to the rise of other nationalist movements, for example in Scotland or Belgium.
- autonomy = the right to have your own parliament and make some decisions on your own
- claim = to say that something is true
- decade = ten years
- declare = to say officially
- GDP = gross domestic product = the total value of all the goods and services that a country produces in one year
- government = the people who rule a country
- Iberian peninsula = southwestern part of Europe, made up of Spain and Portugal
- independent = free
- in favour of = to be for something
- injure = hurt
- nationalist movement = group of people who want to the region to become an independent state
- pour = here: give
- receive = get
- referendum = when people vote in order to decide on a certain subject
- represent = here: to have a share of
- rubber = a soft material, usually used to make tires or boots
- security officers = people who are responsible for the safety of others
- separatist = person who wants to break away from his home country and become independent
- Supreme Court = the highest court in a country
- trigger = start
- unconstitutional = not allowed by the set of rules that a country is governed by
- voting station = place or building where people can vote