Thursday, 18 September 2014

Catalan firefighters arrive in Scotland to support 'Yes' vote

The people of Catalonia, who are also currently fighting for independence, are in full support of Scotland's "Yes" vote for an independent country. 

Yesterday firefighters from the presently Spanish region arrived in Glasgow yesterday to enhance their show of support.

The four firemen drove to the Scottish city in a vintage 45-year-old Seat 600. painted with the colours of the Catalan separatist flag and the blue EU flag, and after their 2,000 km drive from the Catalan homeland, were greeted by a welcoming crowd of "Yes" supporters in George Square.  A photo of the tiny car can be seen here.

One of the firefighters is Pep Pladeveya from Girona in northeast Spain, who said,"We've come to help the Scots and to tell the world that we Catalans want to vote."

"We live in a dictatorship and we want to vote like in Scotland," he added, saying he and his friends would be staying in George Square and laying out candles to make the Scottish and Catalan flags.

Driver of the car, Oriol Pallares, 36, said the journey had been uncomfortable but was very important to all of them, saying , “We wanted to give our support to the people of Scotland for their independence referendum and we are really hoping for there to be a Yes result."

“It’s very important to us and our families at home because we are wanting there to be a referendum in Catalonia for us to leave Spain and be on our own."

“We show our support in Scotland because at home the Spanish government doesn’t want us to have a referendum of our own."

“The Catalonian government is pushing for there to be a referendum on the ninth of November, so if Scotland gets its own independence then it shows it can be done."

“This is very important sentiment for me as there are many people in Catalonia who want independence as we feel we are separate from Spain.”

The men drove all through Spain and France to cross from the ferry port at Calais.  Apparently on arrival at Dover, they simply followed signs for "Scotland" until they finally got to Glasgow.  On Thursday, they will continue their journey by driving through to Edinburgh.

One of the other firefighters, Llorenc Parera, 45, said it was his first time in Scotland, but it was worth the uncomfortable journey, saying, “It was really nice coming over even though we were very cramped inside the car. There is not much room, it’s very small, and 45 years old like me."

“It’s my first time coming to Scotland and it’s very beautiful here."

According to Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Wednesday, moves for independence such as those in Scotland and Catalonia would be a "torpedo" to European integration. He added that if independence went through (for either region), this would only add to poverty.  It seems he and British Prime Minister David Cameron should be crying on each others shoulders these days, liberally handing around the box of Kleenex.

Voting has started and the people of Scotland (and Catalonia), along with Rajoy and Cameron, hold their collective breath.

ABC (Spanish)

Photo: screen capture of a video on The Scotsman's website showing other Catalan supporters visiting Edinburgh a few days ago.