While addressing the Spanish senate, PM Pedro Sánchez has recently stated that there is a problem with peaceful coexistence among Catalans. In my opinion, his diagnosis is maliciously mistaken. In these pervasively troubled times, we have seen more tension in the streets of Catalonia during the recent two-day taxi strike than throughout the entire independence process. Indeed, there have been some violent incidents, mainly by Spanish far-right nationalists. The issue of far-right violence raising its head concerns Spain and Europe at large. And yet I do not believe you can safely claim that peaceful coexistence among Europeans is in jeopardy.
The images of the massive pro-independence rally in the streets of Barcelona on September 11 have proven PM Sánchez wrong. Is it a problem for peaceful coexistence if Catalans hold different views on independence —some oppose it while others pursue it? What about those who wish to reform Spain and others who oppose any such reforms?
The fact that people hold different views does not pose a problem for peaceful coexistence. What does pose a problem is the fact that they have been denied the democratic instrument to resolve those legitimate but conflicting views. Peaceful coexistence is not being jeopardised, democracy is: they have outlawed the one instrument that allows us to ensure that discrepancies are resolved in a peaceful manner: the ballot.