Carles Puigdemont and other political leaders during a protest held on Monday. | Reuters


Political reaction in the Balearics yesterday to events in Catalonia on Sunday was much as might have been expected. Més, the most powerful voice in favour of independence, insisted that Mariano Rajoy should resign as he no longer had any legitimacy. "People went onto the streets to defend democracy, freedom and civil rights," said party co-spokesperson David Abril. "We do not accept lessons in democracy from either the Partido Popular or Ciudadanos." Més are calling for PSOE to stop supporting a "dictatorial" union in Congress between the PP and the C's. They also want a motion of censure in Congress against the national government and Rajoy.

Bel Busquets, the other party spokesperson, referred to the "shame" that had been splashed across the international press. What happened in Catalonia was "very close to what would be a dictatorship".

Abril, meanwhile, restated his wish for there to be a sovereignty referendum in the Balearics. "Time passes quickly," he observed in suggesting that 2030, the year he has given as a target, "is not so far away".

Marga Prohens, the PP's spokesperson, said that Sunday had been "a sad day that could have been avoided". She reiterated the stance of the Rajoy administration that the referendum was not legitimate as the Constitutional Court had warned that it should not have been held. "The social division was avoidable," she maintained and called for dialogue between the different parties in order find a solution "within the law".

Alberto Jarabo of Podemos referred to the "repressive and authoritarian attitude" of the government, adding that he felt ashamed to be a Spaniard and a democrat. He believed that the solution has to involve dialogue and the holding of a legal referendum on independence. "Sooner or later there will be one."

He hoped that a declaration of independence in the next few days will not be made and trusted that Carles Puigdemont and Mariano Rajoy will speak in order to establish the way forward. Nevertheless, he felt that Puigdemont has no choice but to declare independence. Jarabo also called on PSOE not to support any move by the Rajoy administration to invoke Article 155 of the Constitution, by which Catalonia's autonomy would be stripped and the state would effectively take control of the region.

The Balearic government issued a statement on Sunday itself in which it expressed its concerns with the national government's actions and called for Madrid to "act responsibly". Dialogue was the only way to seek a resolution to the conflict. "The message sent to the international community damages the image of our democracy. Violence and conflict deepen social division and do not help to solve a complex problem in which citizens cannot be seen to be affected by a lack of political responsibility." Yesterday there was more direct criticism of Madrid from President Armengol. She said that the national government was "unfit" to resolve the conflict and that the police had acted in a wholly disproportionate manner. The PP, and this included Maria Salom, the national government delegate in the Balearics, insisted that police action was in response to a judicial order.

Also on Sunday there were impromptu protests to what was occurring in Catalonia. Some 3,000 people gathered by Palma town hall, demanding freedom and Rajoy's resignation. Mayor Antoni Noguera took part. This demonstration, with fewer numbers, was repeated in various towns and villages - Algaida, Capdepera, Felanitx, Llucmajor, Manacor, Mancor de la Vall, Montuiri, Pollensa, Porreres, Sa Pobla, Sineu and Son Servera.

Meanwhile, in Catalonia yesterday the government and other prominent political figures led a protest by hundreds of people who gathered in the Plaça Sant Jaume. Carles Puigdemont, as Jarabo noted, is planning to declare independence in the coming days. He said that he is willing to negotiate with Madrid but only on certain conditions. He added that the referendum result (90% yes) was valid and binding and that it must be applied. He meantime demanded that the Guardia Civil and National Police be withdrawn from Catalonia and called on the European Union to mediate between Catalonia and the state.