Nico Salvado 22/2/2021
Deserted rambla, ransacked Passeig de Gràcia, abandoned city center: Barcelona has been a shadow of itself for a year. There is no end date for the pandemic given the slow pace of the vaccination campaign. The riots are likely to drag on as they are supported and encouraged by the pro-independence government of Catalonia. The Generalitat is the only European executive to publicly flout its police, to be benevolent towards thugs and to turn its back on its economic fabric.
Following the riots, one million euros in damage to Barcelona has been exceeded. By criticizing the Mossos, the Catalan government finds itself facing economic forces in a state of post-traumatic stress. “The deterioration of Barcelona’s image as a destination for people and investments is already irreparable,” laments Josep Sánchez Llibre, president of Foment, the Catalan Medef . “We appeal to the responsibility of those who promote, consent, justify or close their eyes to these riots. In addition to causing serious damage to public and private property, these riots jeopardize the future of Barcelona and Catalonia. All the red lines which are the foundations of a rule of law have been crossed” thundered the boss of Catalan entrepreneurs.
The president of the Passeig de Gracia traders’ association shares this anxiety. Lluís Sans believes that Barcelona and Paris are two cities in Europe that share a destiny marked by urban guerrilla warfare. “The looting of international brands like Nike, Guess, Hugo Boss, Tomy Hilfiger, Hermes, Fendi, Versace or Dolce & Gabbana is the worst signal we could send” in the face of foreign investors, laments Lluís Sans.
The Catalan government does not clearly condemn the riots
Pere Aragones, while awaiting the nomination session in March to become the next president of Catalonia, currently holds the post of Minister of the Economy. He spoke this evening to ask to avoid “criminalizing people who take to the streets to speak out.” “There were small looting by small isolated groups” he relativized. “I wish the demonstrations are peaceful” he implored.
In addition Aragones after having brought a timid message of support to the force of the order “as he would do for any other collective of civil servants” announced that an in-depth reform of the police would take place under his mandate and that this will not be wishful thinking. He thus joins the far-left separatist Cup and the party of Carles Puigdemont who never condemned the riots, but hold the police responsible for the situation. By qualifying it as “Francoist” for the Cup, and “lacking in democratic sense” for Puigdemont’s party.
The entire opposition, socialist, right-wing and far-right are calling on the Catalan government to clearly show its support for law enforcement and to end the riots. To attract the favor of the anti-system far-left group, the Cup, which is mathematically necessary in parliament, the governing parties are ready to give up. Even the acts of vandalism perpetrated against the Palau de la Musica on Saturday evening, the sacred temple of Catalanism, have not received a message of condemnation from the regional Ministry of Culture.
Like an ogre never satisfied, the Cup calls for the dismantling of the Catalan police, a demonstration is taking place in this regard this evening at 7 p.m. in front of the Barcelona Arco de Triunfo.
In 2015, Artur Mas made a fool of himself moving from being the leader of a right-wing liberal government to making revolutionary anti-capitalist rhetoric to curry favor with the already indispensable Cup in parliament. The attempt to be reinvested at the head of the Generalitat resulted in the now famous formula of MP Benet Salellas: the Cup sent Artur Mas into the dustbin of history. The very moderate left-wing independence activist Pere Aragones, despite an anti-system belly dance, risks following the same path by attempting a presidential nomination from the hands of the Cup.