Catalunya: Abbreviated Timeline

Against the Current, No. 192, January/February 2018

Bayla Ostrach

1978-1979 Spanish Constitution recognizes Catalunya as “autonomous” (little real effect).

2003 Catalan political parties propose to reform the 1979 Autonomy Statue of the Spanish Constitution; parties supporting autonomy win 88% of Parliamentary seats and popular vote; future (Socialist) Prime Minister Zapatero commits to Autonomy Statute reform effort.

2005 Catalan Parliament sends proposal for new Autonomy Statute to Madrid to recognize Catalunya as a nation, prevent Madrid’s interference in devolved powers, give Catalunya full control over finances [akin to the Basque Country’s autonomous status]. Would have required validation by Spanish Parliament; confirmation in a Catalan referendum.

2006 Spanish Partido Popular begins to actively campaign against Autonomy Statue; Spanish Parliament approves a “watered-down” version of the Statute. Many Catalans disappointed in Socialist Zapatero’s failure to live up to his commitment. Catalan referendum ratifies the watered-down version by almost 74%, Referendum signed by Spanish King Juan Carlos I, entered into Spanish law. Spain recognizes Catalunya as a “nation.”

2009 Various municipal elections in Catalunya call for non-binding referenda on full separation from Spain.

2010 Spanish Constitutional Court rewrites and reinterprets the ratified Statute, delete the reference to Catalonia as a “nation.” One million protest in the streets.

2011 PP wins an absolute majority in Spanish Parliament and all regional elections except Catalunya, campaigning on centralization of powers, opposing Catalan independentism, overturning liberalization of abortion laws, promising to prevent austerity.

Sept. 11, 2012 Diada Nacional, day Catalans commemorate Barcelona’s fall to the Bourbons and conquest by the kingdoms that would become Spain, 1.5 million protest in the streets demanding full separation from Spain. At that time, the largest independentist protest to date.

Nov. 2012 Catalan Regional Parliamentary election of representatives among whom 80% support full separation, indication of growing support for full separation.

Sept. 11, 2016 Diada Nacional, 1 million people ask for Catalan independence in five cities around the world. Fifth year in a row of peaceful demonstrations.

May 2017 Catalan government goes to Madrid to seek negotiations over a referendum. Once again, Spanish government, led by the PP and PSOE, refuse.

June 2017 Self-determination referendum announced for October 2017, asking, “Do you want Catalonia to be an independent country in the form of a Republic?”

Sept. 6-7, 2017 Catalan Parliament approves referendum law creating legal framework for referendum, calling for citizens to have a say on independence in binding vote. Spanish Constitutional court suspends the Catalan referendum law.

Sept. 15, 2017 Spanish national police sent to Catalunya to seize ballot boxes, ballots.
Sept. 20, 2017 Spanish national police storm/occupy Catalan government offices, searching for proof of an “illegal referendum.” Massive protests fill the streets.

Days leading up to Oct. 1, 2017 Neighborhood defense committees mobilize to keep schools and civic centers (polling places) occupied and open. They sleep inside overnight to prevent Spanish national police from barring the doors. (People in some small towns remove doors from the polling places to ensure voters can get in.)

Oct. 1, 2017 An estimated 2.2-2.4 million people vote, another 770,000 people register on the polling station voting censuses (indicating an intention to vote) but are beaten before they can, or have their votes stolen. Sweeping majority of votes counted are in favor of separation from Spain and creation of Catalan Republic.

Oct. 3, 2017 Massive general strike; Spanish King Felipe VI condemns the Catalan government, blames the victims.

Oct. 21, 2017 Spain invokes Article 155 of the Spanish Constitu­tion, revoking Catalan autonomy, setting aside elected leaders, and announcing it will impose direct rule beginning October 28th.

January-February 2018, ATC 192