Update 2: The Trend of Regional Independence Movements and its Portrayal in the Media

Once in Europe, I paid attention to what was going on around me specifically in Barcelona and Madrid. In Barcelona, I found posters and signs hung up throughout the city outside of people’s apartments crying out for justice and democracy. My preliminary research had not prepared me for discussion about the Catalan “political prisoners” which many signs also mentioned.
Not being able to speak Spanish or Catalan, it proved difficult to gain a first hand account in Barcelona; however, in Madrid I was lucky enough to have an Uber driver who happened to speak French which I also speak. As soon as I realized that he spoke French, I immediately told him about my project and asked if it would be okay if I asked him some questions about the Catalan region and its intended secession from Spain. He agreed and continued to give me some very insightful information and opinions of his own. When asked if he thinks that the Catalan region will be able to secede from Spain in the near future he vigorously shook his head and explained why this, in his opinion, is not possible. Interestingly enough, he used the example of the Fleming secession movement in Belgium, which I plan on researching more as well, to explain his reasoning. Similar to the Catalan region, the Fleming region of Belgium is wealthier than the rest of the nation thus the state is very reluctant to let them be independent since they make up such a large portion of the country’s wealth. Along with that, Belgium and Spain both want to maintain their united states. Seeing that it does not benefit them to let either region be independent, it seems very unlikely that the Fleming and Catalan regions will succeed in their secession attempts.
When I asked him about the signs and what the political prisoners were, he very kindly explained that they were protestors who were arrested. I was very surprised to hear this and asked if Spain did not have a law for free speech as we do in the United States. Allegedly they do; however, he explained that protesting for a separate state goes against the Spanish constitution which states that Spain is a single entity/state. Spanish law says that all people who are against the integrative democracy must be stopped and punished meaning they are judged and sent to jail. This was very enlightening and a very good push off point to continue my research and further delve into these independence movements.

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