Following over a week of riots, strikes and demonstrations in Catalonia, support for secession is at its highest ever level following the jailing of Catalan nationalists leaders earlier this month.
At the same time, support nationwide has also surged for Vox, the hardline Spanish nationalist party, that made a general election breakthrough earlier this year, becoming Spain’s third party in the latest opinion polls.
Although the region is generally calm, despite violent hotspots in Barcelona, open support for Catalan secession is apparent in many places in the historic region with demands that the jailed nationalist leaders be freed from prison.
As a result of the disturbances, the region’s lucrative tourist trade has been hit badly, according to media reports, although the increased police presence means the streets are safer than ever. Madrid is demanding that the local police deal with the disturbances alone preferring not to send in outsiders who might inflame the situation, as happened during the attempt to secede and hold an independence referendum in 2017.
Since Madrid won’t allow a Scottish-style referendum on the issue of Catalan independence, it seems increasingly likely that the matter will be settled on the streets as rival factions battle it out with the local police required to use increasing amounts of force in order to prevent the whole region becoming ungovernable.
The protests, which commenced on the 14th of October, have become increasingly violent, particularly at weekends and show little sign of diminishing.