Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP makes a stand for what’s right, and sticks two fingers up at the Tories

sturgeon and may and catalan estelada flag
Ed Sykes

On 25 March, German police arrested former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont in response to a warrant issued by Spain’s Supreme Court. But as Theresa May’s UK government affirmed its support for the latest Spanish crackdown, Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP stuck two fingers up at the Tories’ official stance.

Increasing tension in Catalonia

On 23 March, a Spanish Supreme Court judge ordered the arrest of five Catalan politicians. This added to tensions that have existed in Catalonia since Spain responded violently to an independence referendum in late 2017. The judge also issued international warrants for a number of other politicians, including Puigdemont.

This latest development has led to mass protests in Catalonia.

The SNP vs the Tories

Following Puigdemont’s arrest, a brief statement from the British government on 25 March read:

The position of the British Government is well known: we want to see the rule of law respected, the Spanish Constitution upheld and Spanish unity maintained

But Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP held a very different view, insisting that:

It is well established that the Scottish Government supports the right of the people of Catalonia to determine their own future and that we strongly oppose the Spanish Government’s decision to seek the arrest and imprisonment of independence supporting politicians.

This statement came in the wake of a Spanish arrest warrant for former Catalan minister Clara Ponsatí, who is a professor at the University of St Andrews in Fife.

Sturgeon then lamented that her government had “no powers to intervene in this process”. But she made her opposition to Spain’s techniques very clear:

SNP MP Angus MacNeil, meanwhile, went even further – calling on the EU to ‘cast Spain out’ from the union:

Police clash with protesters as Spain intensifies its crackdown

Over in Catalonia, meanwhile, there have been mass protests calling for the liberation of imprisoned politicians. There have also been allegations of police abuse:

Crushing democracy?

The view of many commentators on Twitter is clearly that Spain is attempting to crush the democratic will of the Catalan people, and that these tactics will only make the situation worse:

The Spanish Supreme Court insists that Catalonia’s leaders must face charges of “rebellion, embezzlement or disobeying the state”. But the politicians in question deny these allegations.

For many international observers, including the SNP and other UK politicians, Spain’s latest attack on democratically elected politicians is shameful. And it is not something that a 21st-century British government should be supporting.

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Featured image via Tom Donald/Flickr  / Foreign Office/Flickr / Pixabay

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