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    Catalan Independence Ref Would be Too Controversial for Any Spanish Gov't - Prof

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    Leading members of the Catalan independence movement are set to go on trial today in the Spanish capital Madrid, on charges of inciting rebellion. If they are found guilty, what could the ramifications be for the future of the campaign? Sputnik discussed this with Duncan Wheeler, Chair of Spanish Studies at the University Of Leeds.

    Sputnik: Do you think that Oriol Junqueras and other Catalan independence activists will be sentenced to jail time, and what would the reaction be in Catalonia if this happened?

    Duncan Wheeler: I think it would be very silly for them to be sentenced to jail time, because I think that if this was the case; they'd be turned into martyrs.

    If you look at the history of nationalist struggles; then they thrive off martyrdom don't they? In the past year lots have people have been wearing yellow ribbons to symbolise freedom for political prisoners.

    I think in a sense the more important gesture from the Spanish state's point of view, is to demonstrate that they have the right to put them on trial, rather than actually necessarily then putting them in jail; although it could happen.

    READ MORE: Thousands Protest in Madrid Against Spanish PM's Catalonia Proposal (VIDEO)

    Sputnik: Do you think Catalonia would ever be given an official independent referendum like Scotland got in the UK?

    Duncan Wheeler: I don't think it's possible with the current government, because I think that unless there's pressure brought from outside; I think that one of the things that's never really come across in the press over here, is the fact of how anti-Catalan so much of the rest of Spain is.

    I think it's such a vote loser. I know it's such a partial criticism, but it's because I'm writing about bullfighting at the moment; I'm reading a lot of bullfighting chronicles, and they all criticised Rajoy for being too soft, and they now say that Pedro Sanchez isn't fit for government because he's willing to negotiate with the Catalans.

    Everybody's claiming to be a democrat; the Catalans claim a democratic form of Catalan independence and the anti-independence people say that they are having what they call a coup attempt; so they're basically saying that Pedro Sanchez isn't fit for purpose because he's so soft on them.

    I just think it would be too controversial for any Spanish government to go ahead with it and to give that possibility.

    Views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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