YOUR front page yesterday (Spain’s day of shame, The National, October 2) clearly showed the intolerable violence inflicted by Spain’s civil guard and the national police against unarmed Catalonians doing nothing more provocative than voting against a government which they wanted to separate from.

Spain’s dictator – because there can be no other word for Mariano Rajoy – far from accepting responsibility for the violent repression of democracy claimed that “Today’s damage [a euphemism if ever I heard one] is exclusively their responsibility”.

But your headline did not go far enough. It ought to have been “Spain and the EU’s day of shame”, because before yesterday there seems to have been no intervention on behalf of the EU to introduce to Mariano Rajoy the concept of “negotiation and compromise”. No exhortation to avoid bloodshed by sitting around a table until an acceptable agreement could be arrived at. Even offering to act as arbiters in a difficult negotiation.

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No. The EU turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to an increasingly volatile situation on the grounds that they do not interfere in the affairs of a member state and uphold the rule of law. Really?

Now, in the face of Rajoy’s violent repression of the Catalan people who only wanted to place a vote which might have been for or against independence, how can we expect the EU to react to it? Will they invoke Article 7 of the European Union Treaty? Or Article 2? Maybe Article 4? Will the European Court of Human Rights take action against Rajoy? Will Spain be expelled from the European Union? Probably not. The German Chancellor and her subordinates will do nothing because Spain is an important “partner” in the EU.

Perhaps I’m being too impatient with the EU by expecting them to act in support of democracy. Perhaps as I write this the European Council is meeting to expel Spain from the Union. Or perhaps they’re all cowering under their desks and wondering how they can come up with a form of words to do nothing while paying lip service to “the rule of law”. Cherry-picking which laws they deem worthy of support.
Lovina Roe
Perth

ONE cannot fail to have been moved by the scenes of violence in Catalonia, as Spanish forces attacked unarmed voters.

Whatever the view on Catalonia’s right to hold such a vote or not, the response by the Spanish national government was brutal and excessive, leading to 844 people being injured.

The sight of people being dragged from polling stations by baton-wielding police and the disabled being attacked in wheelchairs has no place in a modern Western democracy. One cannot praise highly enough the calmness, humanity and bravery of the Catalan people when faced with such acts of violence.

What is deeply disappointing is the muted response from the international community, which bar a few exceptions such as Angela Merkel, the Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel and Nicola Sturgeon, has been largely silent.

While the European Union may argue that this is a domestic situation, in the past it has been willing to act in such matters. In 2000, for example, it imposed diplomatic sanctions on Austria when Joerg Haider’s extreme right-wing Austrian Freedom Party entered the government.

The Tory government is so morally bankrupt that little more was to be expected than the pathetic response from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office when it referred to Spain as a “close ally and a good friend, whose strength and unity matters to us”.

There was no condemnation of the violence, but the UK Government is so weakened due to Brexit that it requires every scrap of support it can gather, even if it means turning a blind eye to such obvious brutality.

One suspects that if there was any doubt previously over Catalonia’s desire for independence, the actions of the Spanish state have pushed it well and truly down this road.
Alex Orr
Edinburgh

VERY disappointed by the lack of serious condemnation from UN and British Government regarding the atrocious behaviour of the Spanish Government in its treatment of Catalonians who attempted to vote. This heavy-handed police brutality is reminiscent of the Franco era. But I’m more disappointed by the EU and their lack of condemnation. Up till Sunday I was very pro staying in the EU. Not any more. If this is what we can expect from the EU, I don’t want to be part of it. Both the UN and EU should be suspending Spain’s membership. Their behaviour is not that of a democratic country.
Norman Henderson
Clydebank

YOU know the world has gone truly mad when at least one Tory MSP, and even Katie Hopkins, express support for the people of Catalonia in expressing their right to a free and democratic vote on self-determination, but the British Labour Party in Scotland (represented by Duncan Hothersall, Peter Russell and Brian Wilson) stand shoulder to shoulder with the Francoesque Rajoy government and try to blame the SNP for the whole tragedy! You couldn’t make it up!
Alastair Naughton
Peterculter, Aberdeen

AGAIN, Nicola Sturgeon says what needs to be said. Meanwhile, the UK Government releases an anonymous statement placing it firmly on the side of a government that has been recorded using unacceptable brutality against its defenceless civilian population.
Thom Muir
via thenational.scot