WASHINGTON, DC–Speaking to reporters at a joint press conference with US President Trump, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said that “democracy will never undermine our democracy.”
The prime minister was referring to the planned referendum in Catalonia on so-called “independence”, and the turn of phrase has become something of a rallying cry for Rajoy and his supporters as he works to quell the democratic insurgency in that too-autonomous region. Rajoy later vowed that his government “would use all means necessary to defeat the radical democratic terrorists”.*
The illegal vote is scheduled for October 1, and Rajoy, true to his word, has been swiftly cracking down on the plot. Several of the democratic plotters have been thrown in prison, makeshift ballot boxes have been seized, and thousands of additional peacekeeping troops will be positioned near the ports, ready to jump into action at the first sign of self-determination.
But even with all of the proactive measures, there are worrying signs that the destabilizing vote may occur anyway. The leaders of the movement remain outspoken, and every time one is summarily detained, another rises in their place. Even worse, opinion polls suggest support for independence may be growing even as the legitimate Spanish government works dilligently to suppress it.
Experts say this may be one of the first documented cases where heavy-handed government repression of a population inspired more resentment towards that same government.
*This is a satirical post. The language attributed to PM Rajoy above is exaggerated, if only slightly. The repressive actions described are real.