Catalans have expressed mixed feelings over the regional leadership’s failure to steam ahead and unilaterally split from Madrid, after its declaration of independence was immediately placed on hold pending talks with the central government.
On Tuesday, Catalan regional president Carles Puigdemont accepted “the mandate of the people for Catalonia to become an independent republic” and then promptly asked the Catalan parliament to “suspend the effects of the independence declaration to initiate dialogue [with Madrid] in the coming weeks.”
Following the announcement, many pro-independence activists who had assembled on the streets of Barcelona, expressed their bitter disappointment by the current course adopted by the local government.
Some blamed Puigdemont’s inability to act for jeopardizing their dream. “He remained still; he didn’t take the step ahead as everybody wanted. We understand he appeals to dialogue, but Catalonia has spoken and we wanted independence,” pro-independence activist Carolina told RT’s Ruptly video agency.
As Catalans await the outcome of Wednesday’s emergency cabinet meeting that will be chaired by the Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, they fear their dream to create an independent Catalan Republic may slip away as Rajoy has vowed to use everything in his power to prevent the secession of the region.
“He [Puigdemont] says he wants dialogue but Catalonia has asked Spanish Government like 17 times, and every time doors have been closed,” said Christina, who participated in a mass rally in Barcelona. “So I believed today he would finally declare [independence]. And I’m a bit disappointed.”
Over two million Catalans took to the polls on October 1, despite a heavy national police crackdown which left almost 900 people injured. All the same, hopes of establishing their own state still elude them.