Protest in Palma against the "imposition" of Catalan.

18-02-2018Pilar Pellicer

Some 2,500 people demonstrated in Palma on Sunday against Catalanisation in the Balearics. Organised by the Mos Movem group, the protest was specifically against requirements for Catalan speaking by Balearic health service personnel and against notions of independence as part of the Catalan Lands.

The march was attended by leading politicians from the right and centre-right: Biel Company, the president of the Partido Popular in the Balearics; Xavier Pericay, the chief spokesperson for Ciudadanos in the Balearic parliament; and ex-president of the Balearics, José Ramón Bauzá. There was also Jorge Campos, himself now a politician following the recent establishment of a new party, Actua Baleares.

Campos, president of the Circulo Balear, an organisation long opposed to Catalanisation, said that language should never be an exclusive requirement for the health service. It was "madness" that the Balearics should be losing "great health professionals" because of the "imposition of Catalan, which is not our language".

Pericay insisted that President Armengol has made a mistake and called on her to rectify policy regarding Catalan in the health service.

The march went from the Plaça Espanya to the Consolat de Mar government headquarters. Slogans included "Armengol resignation", "We are Balearic, not Catalan", "Merit yes, requirement no".

The spokesperson for Mos Movem, Ursula Mascaró, demanded that there should not be linguistic impositions in the health service or anywhere. She added that the Balearics are not part of the "imaginary Catalan Lands". "We do not accept the imposition of Catalan because we don't want it. We are bilingual and we understand each other, but we do not want to communicate in standard Catalan."

* Mos Movem, with more than 9,500 members in its Facebook group, started some three months ago in Minorca. It is not the first group that has taken issue with Catalanisation. The Circulo Balear and the Fundacio Jaume III are two others.

These organisations have in common the promotion of the dialects of the islands and not Catalan. They are therefore the opposite of an organisation such as the Obra Cultural Balear, which promotes Catalan language and culture and is in favour of the notion of the Catalan Lands.

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