Tag Archives: rally

Crisis in Catalonia… Story by Isaac Solly

On October 1st, the Spanish province Catalonia held an independence referendum that had been condoned by the Spanish government, and divided Catalan society. At hand was the question of whether or not the province should become an independent country, though the results were non-binding. Though 90% of voters supported independence, showing was particularly poor at only 43%. Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont is an ardent supporter of independence, and threatened to declare it within days. Up to now, however, there has not been any declaration.

Independence Rallies… There have been many rallies advocating for independence since the referendum. Photo By: Daily Express.
Independence Rallies… There have been many rallies advocating for independence since the referendum. Photo By: Daily Express.

On Election Day, over 900 voters were reported to have been injured by the Spanish police, who tried to seize voting stations and results. This was critical for two reasons—firstly, the Spanish government does not intend to let go of Catalonia, as it is one of their richest provinces. An article in the Spanish constitution outlines that secession of a Spanish province is illegal, and the government is acting on that mandate to try and stop the Catalan parliament.

Secondly, Catalonia is already semi-autonomous, and runs many of its public services separate from the Spanish government. It is not the only case of autonomy in Spain—other regions such as Basque Country in the north run with similar leeway. However, the Spanish government used its police in place of the Catalan police, and has also threatened to suspend the Catalan parliament.

Financing Secession… Catalonia, in the northeast of Spain, is a wealthy region and could probably survive economically. Photo By: BBC News.
Financing Secession… Catalonia, in the northeast of Spain, is a wealthy region and could probably survive economically. Photo By: BBC News.

To try and get some international support, Catalan leaders have looked out to the EU, but have not got much positive feedback. Both the EU parliament and individual countries such as France said they would not recognize a declaration of independence, and that Catalonia would not automatically be admitted to the EU should it secede (some leaders have condoned the use of violence, however).

Catalonia could probably finance independence, as it is a richer part of Spain, and has a fourth of Spain’s exports with a fifth of it’s population. Recently, Puigdemont has delayed any declaration of independence and said that he was open to negotiation with the Spanish government. This is probably because he has been humbled by Pro-Spain unity rallies in Barcelona over the weekend, further weakening his mandate to speak for all of Catalonia.

Trump Feuds with the NFL… Story by Isaac Solly

From the weekend of September 23th, Trump has reignited a debate on flag etiquette and free speech. It began at a rally in Alabama, where he was campaigning for incumbent senator Luther Strange in a runoff to fill the seat left vacant by Att. Gen. Jeff Sessions (a race which Strange lost). Though he made some controversial comments, the most memorable was where he referenced players who had kneeled during the anthem, calling them out with explicit language and urging coaches to fire them.

Alabama Rally… Trump reignited the debate in an Alabama rally, attacking kneeling players with explicit language. Photo By: CNN.
Alabama Rally… Trump reignited the debate in an Alabama rally, attacking kneeling players with explicit language. Photo By: CNN.

In response, many coaches and owners chose to either respond via Twitter or a public statement, though Trump had also tweeted out on his private account similar messages. There were also protests on the field—coaches and owners largely stayed with the players during the anthem as a sign of unity, and large portions of players kneeled or showed other signs of defiance.

This debate was sparked last year in September when Colin Kaepernick started kneeling during the anthem to protest social inequality. His advocates praised the silent protest, while others argued that the flag should be respected. There is flag etiquette in the U.S., however, people frequently break it and it is not enforced.

Free speech has been an issue of late, with some organizations trying to shut down controversial speakers on both sides, including conflicts at Berkley. Trump’s remarks may be ironic because of this, as he has promoted the free speech rights of alt-right marches in Charlottesville and other towns, but asked for NFL heads to fire the dissenting players—a call which has been heftily rejected by the NFL commissioners.

Kneeling Teams… Some players of the New England Patriots protest Trump’s remarks and kneel during the anthem. Photo By: Jim Rogash
Kneeling Teams… Some players of the New England Patriots protest Trump’s remarks and kneel during the anthem. Photo By: Jim Rogash.

Though most of the ire has been drawn at the NFL, other sport agencies were in the news at a similar time. Just after the rally, Trump had withdrawn the customary invitation to visit the white house to the winning NBA team—in this case the Golden State Warriors. This was, according to Trumps tweet (Twitter was also the platform he used to withdraw the invitation), because Stephen Curry was having doubts about going. This referenced Curry’s vocal dislike of Trump, and afterwards NBA players such as LeBron James lined up in his support. Conversely, Nascar owners said they would not tolerate protests during the anthem, a policy much more in line with Trumps wishes.