A cross-party group of Scottish politicians has asked the Spanish government to allow people in Catalonia to decide their future democratically. The move comes amid rising tensions in Spain, after the devolved Catalan administration decided to call an independence referendum next Sunday, which Madrid has described the move as illegal.
Eighteen MSPs expressed grave concern at the actions of the Spanish state in a letter to Spain's prime minister. The letter to Mariano Rajoy was signed by MSPs from the Greens, Labour, SNP and Lib Dems.
The Spanish authorities have moved to place all policing in Catalonia under central control to stop the disputed referendum. They have also sought to stop the vote by seizing voting materials, imposing fines on top officials and temporarily arresting dozens of politicians.
The Scottish politicians' letter, drawn up by Green MSP Ross Greer, argued that the situation in Catalonia could only be resolved through political action and dialogue and by allowing the people to express their will democratically.
It read: We come from a range of political traditions, with differing views on Scotland's constitutional future and a collective neutrality on the question being posed to the Catalan people but we are united in our belief in democracy.
The Spanish government claim to be acting in defense of democracy, but threats of legal action against hundreds of democratically-elected representatives and repressive acts against an elected government, media organizations and citizens are in no way democratic acts.
The recent arrest of a Catalan government minister and a number of government staff was a particular violation of the norms of European democracy.
We call on you and your government to engage with the Catalan government as partners in facilitating a democratic and just resolution to this situation.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has backed the right of the Catalan government to hold and independence referendum, saying the right of self-determination was an important principle.