In Barcelona, the de facto capital of Catalonia, street protests held against the verdicts handed down in respect to a number of separatist leaders who organized an illegal referendum in 2017 have turned into violent riots. Moreover, in these clashes there is one common feature inherent in almost all the latest similar incidents we witnessed across Europe with major effect, both informational and social. Those protests I mentioned in my recent stream covering the developments in Spain.
So, rallies in Barcelona started October 14, the day when reports came about the leaders of the Catalonia independence movement sentenced to up to 13 years in prison. On the same day, protesters blocked motorways leading to Barcelona, as well as the railway and the El Prat Airport.
Incidentally, it was hundreds and thousands of social network accounts, which not always had anything to do with Catalonia or Spain, that called for for the blockade of the El Prat Airport and roads following the publication of the court verdict. At the same time, as we remember, the very Catalonia independence referendum of 2017 was also very actively promoted via a network supported by Russian internet trolls, which is confirmed by official reports of the CCN National Cryptology Center under Spain's National Intelligence Center.
In addition, the current developments in Barcelona, as well as those of 2017, get wide coverage in the Russian media. Moreover, their Kremlin propaganda persistently and manipulatively calls the unfolding events "civil war".
However, until yesterday, these protests, despite minor clashes with the police, were mostly peaceful.
Last night, Barcelona plunged into that precise state of affairs that is so beneficial for the Russian media – a city with many hotbeds of confrontation, engulfed in flames. Although it was mostly rubbish and furniture that burned in flames, accompanied by firecracker blasts, something else is important here, namely, the source of radicalization.
As in the case of the "Yellow Vests" rallies in France in Barcelona, peaceful protests spilled over into clashes with the police due to the involvement of radical, nationalist groups. The same thing happened in France, where the protest of farmers, dissatisfied with the increase in fuel prices, turned into a challenge to the Macron government, through radicalization with the involvement of the National Association of Marine le Pen and its branches.
And today, after the overnight riots in the capital of Catalonia, catalyzed by radicals, nationalists and neo-Nazis, the notorious "Yellow Vests" took to the streets, too.
Well, ladies and gentlemen, or better say damas y caballeros, the script is painfully familiar to us so please don't tell us about the ephemeral nature of some historical background, while the events clearly play in the interests of the Kremlin, one of which is comprehensive destabilization in Europe. And Moscow won't miss a single chance in this regard. Especially when it comes to separatism.
And in this context I should quote Otto von Bismarck: "Fools say that they learn from their own experience, while I prefer to learn from the experience of others."
I hope that the Government of Spain, with an eye on the French experience, will draw conclusions instead of learning on own mistakes.