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by Euro Reporter
2016-11-17 09:31:35
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Huge riot in migrant detention centre in Spain leaves police officers injured

Police sources have reported that the revolt happened just before 9pm on Monday 14th of November night when inmates set fire to papers and cardboards and began to fight with the police. Spanish Police Unions have now demanded the country’s Home Office improves security in these detention centres. They tweeted: “We ask political and police officials what misfortune must occur to solve these security issues.”

In total, nine migrants are on the run. This is the third riot to have taken place in the centre in Murcia in a few weeks. According to the Emergency Coordination Centre, the police officers who have been wounded are not in a serious condition and have been transported by ambulance to Quiron de Murcia Hospital. Although the fire service arrived at the migrant centre, the fire had already been smothered by police officers.

All migrants who are discovered in Spain are sent to immigrant transit centres, where attempts are made to repatriate them to their country of origin or they are released. These centres are not prisons, but migrants are held in enclosed environments with guards. In October, there was a major riot at the same centre where five police officers were injured and 67 migrants escaped. Millions of pounds are spent each year attempting to prevent illegal entry into Spain. 

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Catalans Protest Spain's Legal Challenges to Secession

spain_400_02Thousands of Catalan separatists gathered in Barcelona on Sunday to protest a series of legal challenges made by Spain's government against pro-independence Catalan politicians. Several of Catalonia's lawmakers are facing court cases sought by the Spanish government for having staged a secession referendum in 2014 in disobedience of a court order and for other regional laws designed to prepare a path toward secession. Those politicians include Catalonia's former regional president, Artur Mas, and the current speaker of the regional parliament, Carme Forcadell, who both attended Sunday's protest. Grassroots groups said they organized a fleet of around 150 buses to bring protesters in from the countryside and smaller towns to participate in the rally held near the Plaza de Espana in Barcelona. Jordi Cuixart, the president of Omnium, a separatist grassroots group, told the crowd that teemed with pro-independence flags that he had "a message for the Spanish state."

"If you attack our democratically elected representatives, you attack our institutions, all our people and our sovereignty, and we will never allow that," Cuixart said. "Our cause is democracy and we will never let our elected representatives down." Separatist sentiment has been on the rise in recent years in the wealthy northeastern region that speaks Catalan along with Spanish. Separatists complain that Catalonia pays more taxes than it should to the central government. In 2014, then-president Mas ignored an order by Spain's Constitutional Court to suspend a mock referendum on Catalan secession. Mas' regional government went ahead with the informal poll anyway, staffing voting stations with volunteers. Nearly 90 percent of the ballots were in favour of independence, but only 2 million of the 5.4 million eligible voters cast ballots.

Polls consistently show that Catalonia's 7.5 million residents are about equally divided on breaking century-old ties with the rest of Spain. Catalonia's current regional president, Carles Puigdemont, plans to call another referendum on independence by September. "These are situations that can only be solved politically," Puigdemont said at a separate rally in his home village on Sunday. Spain's government has consistently said that regions don't have the constitutional right to hold a referendum concerning the integrity of the country.

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Spain’s political deadlock finally ends

After nearly a year of bickering and stalling, Spanish politicians have finally formed their country’s new government. Mariano Rajoy, leader of the conservative Popular Party (PP), returns for a second term as prime minister. This time, Rajoy heads up a coalition made up of the PP, centrist newcomer Ciudadanos (‘Citizens’) and the centre-right Canary Islands Coalition. This is good news for Spain and shows that, at last, pragmatism has trumped ideology. It has ensured that a dreaded third election, which had been looming in December, won’t now be needed. Rajoy’s administration won’t have it easy though. The coalition is deeply unpopular with many Spaniards and will face formidable opposition in congress. What’s more, cross-party tensions – an inevitable part of political pacts of convenience – are also likely to cause trouble. But many will now hope that the country can lurch back into action after ten months of enforced idleness. The cross-party coalition has shown realism and a willingness to compromise – two qualities rarely seen in the last few months of shameful Spanish politics.

Not everyone is thrilled at the outcome of Spain’s political stalemate. The PP’s long-standing rival, the Socialist party (PSOE), is in meltdown after the resignation of its leader Pedro Sanchez a month ago. The party is staying stubborn in its refusal to team up with hard-left newcomer Unidos Podemos (‘United We Can’). While for its part, Unidos Podemos is mercilessly critical of the PSOE for dropping its opposition to Rajoy – the key move which made it possible for the veteran conservative to return to office. It’s no surprise that a hard-left group hungry for power would make such a criticism. Yet it’s also possible to see the Socialists’ decision to step aside in another, more positive way. After all, in paving the way for the formation of a new government, didn’t the party selflessly put the interests of the electorate before its own?

Unidos Podemos will never see it like that. In his speech to congress on Saturday, its leader Pablo Iglesias summed up the anger at the heart of the Spanish left which has blocked its path to power: ‘You’re closer to the PP than us,’ he furiously told the PSOE deputies. Both the new and traditional left-wing parties in Spain risk being defined by their opposition to the new Rajoy administration, rather than making themselves parties with their own, clearly stated policy agendas. What they don’t stand for is much more obvious to voters than what they do. Although Iglesias’s criticism about the Socialists standing close to the PP might be at least partly true, their support isn’t unconditional. And it’s clear that already there’s a limit to how far the Socialists will be willing to aid a politician whose image they probably want to use as target practice. While 68 PSOE deputies abstained from voting against Rajoy last weekend, the party is adamant that it will never actively support the PP, let alone enter a ‘Grand Coalition’ with it. Instead, every time Rajoy tries to pass legislation, he’s likely to encounter the Socialists’ hostility.

Anti-corruption, business-friendly Ciudadanos have emerged as the most flexible group so far, but the PP is the only party it has managed to do a deal with in ten months’ of fraught negotiations – hardly a reassuring sign. Instead, repeated breakdowns in talks have resulted in months and months of political paralysis. Time was running out for embattled factions to put aside self-interest and finally form a new government. Urgent budgetary matters were on the horizon and the operational stasis putting off businesses was starting to bite. There’s also the undeniable fact that holding a third election in one year would have made Spain’s politicians look even more self-interested, dithering and stubborn than they did after the first two. Thankfully a third election has been avoided and now it’s time for Spain’s warring politicians to stop bickering, focus on their common ground and get on with governing. Will they manage? Few Spaniards will be holding their breath.

 


      
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Emanuel Paparella2016-11-17 16:11:47
Interesting paradox that of Catalonia: while the continent talks of union of nations the Catalonians and the Basques, and the Friulian in Italy, and the Flemish in the Netherland speak of national independence...One wonders if Europeans who claim to be united as one confederacy know who they are or have we formed a united union without knowing what does it mean to be a European? Is it as simple as loving soccer and spaghetti and meat-balls? Does Christopher Dawson have any answers in his "The Making of Europe?"


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