Pep Guardiola calls on the international community to support the Catalan referendum

The Manchester City coach asks democrats worldwide to help defend civil rights in Catalonia in front of 30,000 in a rally in Barcelona

Pep Guardiola during the demonstration (by ACN)
Pep Guardiola during the demonstration (by ACN) / Krystyna Schreiber

Krystyna Schreiber

June 12, 2017 03:01 PM

Barcelona. Manchester City coach, Pep Guardiola, read a manifesto in favor of a referendum on Catalan independence at a rally on Sunday. “We appeal to all democrats – in Europe and around the world – to stand by us in defending the rights that are under threat today in Catalonia, such as freedom of political expression,” Guardiola said in front of the 30,000 people who had gathered under the motto “Referendum is democracy” at the emblematic Montjuïc fountains in Barcelona. Civil and municipality organizations had called on the citizens to show their support for the referendum, planned for October 1 and which the central government has vowed to stop at all costs. Guardiola also reminded the crowd about Spain's actions against the self-determination process in Catalonia, such as the conspiracy to destroy the Catalan health system or the judicial prosecution of elected representatives, which he said were unworthy of a twenty-first-century European democracy. “This scandalous political situation can only be answered with more democracy,” the renowned former FC Barcelona coach said. Numerous speakers of the different entities also defended that “the only possible answer is to vote”.

In front of a huge banner reading “Love democracy”, the renowned Manchester City coach, Pep Guardiola, read a manifesto in Catalan, Spanish, and English to a crowd of more than 30,000 people, according to local police. “We have tried to reach an agreement 18 times and the answer has always been ‘no’. We all know about the attempts to destroy the Catalan school system, a foundation of social cohesion, the blockage on investments in our infrastructures. An interior minister who conspires to destroy our health system, political police units that fabricate false evidence against our political leaders, even our civil servants and business people are being pressured by prosecution and police. This scandalous political situation can only be responded to with more democracy,” Guardiola said to the crowd and concluded that there was no other solution for Catalonia, the only possible answer was to vote.

The Catalan government had announced on Friday that the referendum on Catalan independence is set for October 1 this year. The Catalan people will be called to answer the question “Do you want Catalonia to be an independent country in the form of a republic?” The Spanish government immediately responded that a referendum not permitted by the constitution will not take place and that the executive was prepared to do everything within its power to avoid such a vote. 

However, the commitment to hold the vote on October 1 was confirmed once more by representatives of several institutions and organizations during Sunday’s demonstration. “There is no plan B,” said the President of the Catalan Parliament, Carme Forcadell, in statements to the press. The spokesperson of the Catalan government, Neus Munté, underscored the driving force behind the referendum, which made it impossible to stop the vote. The spokesperson of the anti-capitalist CUP, Eulalia Reguant, confirmed that after the announcement of the date and question, it was now important to take further steps such as putting legal guarantees on the table to make sure everyone had the right to vote and that the vote was transparent.