Barcelona, October 18: Tens of thousands of people protested Tuesday night in Barcelona against the Spanish government’s detention of two Catalonia separatist leaders.
The demonstrators carried candles and banners demanding the release of Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart, who are being held on possible sedition charges.
Prosecutors accuse Cuixart of the Omnium Cultural movement and Sanchez of the Catalan National Assembly of provoking violence against police during a pro-independence march last month.
Catalan leaders have called the two political prisoners, which the government denies.
Earlier Tuesday, Spain’s top court ruled Catalonia’s independence referendum was illegal, saying that regional law backing the vote violated Spain’s constitution.
The Catalan government had passed the “self-determination referendum law” on September 6. Spain’s high court said the law must be suspended temporarily as it assessed the Spanish government’s opposition to it, but Catalonia went ahead with the referendum on October 1.
According to court regulations, the suspension was to last five months while judges come up with a ruling, but the pro-independence coalition ruling Catalonia claimed that the universal right to self-determination outweighs Spain’s laws.
Catalan government spokesperson, Jordi Turull, told reporters Tuesday Catalonia would not “surrender” its secession bid and reiterated calls for talks with Madrid on what he called “a democratic mandate” for independence.
Spain has given Catalonia until Thursday to reverse any moves it has made to secede or face direct rule from Madrid.
Catalonia, Spain’s most prosperous region, is home to 7.5 million people. Its capital, Barcelona, is one of Europe’s major tourist attractions. Catalonia has its own language and distinct culture and is deeply divided over independence.
The Catalan government said that 90 percent of Catalans who participated in the October 1 referendum voted for independence from Spain. Many opponents of independence boycotted the vote, reducing turnout to around 43 percent of eligible voters.(VOA)
Barcelona, October 30: An air of calm settled over Barcelona after hundreds of thousands of Catalan attended a rally Sunday for Spanish unity. The atmosphere of the rally was peaceful, as police helicopters monitored from above.
Amid a forest of Spanish national flags and chants of “Viva Espana,” protesters called for the jailing of Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, who on Friday issued a declaration of independence shortly before the Spanish government stripped Catalonia of its autonomy.
But the calm that followed the rally in the Catalan capital attended by an estimated 300,000 people had the quality of the stillness before a storm. Few are ready to hazard a prediction of how events in Catalonia may unfold in the coming days in a confrontation that has seen intransigence from both sides.
How Madrid starts imposing direct rule Monday on its restive northeast region, and how separatists respond, will determine the next phase in the month-long cat-and-mouse standoff between the politicians in Madrid and Catalan secessionists. Both appear to be banking on the other side tiring like a bull played by a matador.
But fears are growing the perilous confrontation, at times visceral and seamed with past historical grievances including from the era of Gen. Francisco Franco, will degenerate into violence, despite the separatists’ determination to remain non-violent and Madrid’s eagerness not to repeat the national police violence that accompanied an October 1 independence referendum.
“If Puigdemont takes part in these elections, he can exercise [his] democratic opposition,” said government spokesman Íñigo Méndez de Vigo. That suggests the implacable deputy Spanish prime minister, María Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría Antón, a 46-year-old former prosecutor who is charged with overseeing direct rule, is not planning to kick off by arresting Catalan separatist leaders, a move some analysts say would be inflammatory if it is tried.
Nonetheless, there will be several flash-points in the coming week that could push the confrontation, the worst political crisis to roil Spain since a failed military coup in 1981, down paths neither Madrid nor the secessionists want or could control, say analysts. They worry the type of clashes seen on October 1, when the national police and Civil Guard tried to distort the referendum, will be seen when Madrid decides to enforce direct-rule by closing down Catalonia’s parliament and regional government. “I really will be amazed if we don’t see more of that, sadly,” said Sally Ann-Kitts, a lecturer in Hispanic studies at Britain’s University of Bristol.
“All sides seem to be living in Wonderland,” according to John Carlin, who was fired from his job at the Spanish newspaper El País earlier this month over an article he wrote highly critical of the Spanish government for its response to the independence referendum.
In an article for the London Sunday Times, Carlin argued the biggest risk may come if the idea takes hold “among highly energized independence-seeking youth that they have been the victims of a Franquista coup d’état.”
Another risk is that provocateurs on either side, violent anarchists or hardline Spanish nationalists take advantage of the mess Catalonia is in and organize an incident to provoke a reaction from their opponents. On Friday young Spanish nationalists attacked a Catalan radio station.
As things stand, Catalans will wake up Monday to two rival administrations in their region claiming legitimacy, the Puigdemont-led regional government and an emergency authority staffed by Spanish civil servants and led by Sáenz de Santamaría. On Saturday, Puigdemont defied the fact that he was formally dismissed by the Spanish government and urged Catalans to “defend” the new republic in a televised address.
Separatist leaders and their supporters appear determined to wear Madrid down much as a matador does with a bull by obstructing and resisting the orders issued by Madrid. “The only answer we have is self-defense – institutional self-defense and civil self-defense. I hope Catalans won’t be intimidated by Madrid,” says Abel Escriba, a pro-independence political scientist.
Madrid is banking on Catalonia’s 200,000 public employees and the executives of public companies in the region accepting direct-rule and ignoring the instructions of the Puigdemont-led regional government. The public employee, teacher and firefighter unions have proclaimed their members will ignore Madrid’s instruction.
“We are going to ask them to be professional and to continue to provide services for their citizens,” a Spanish official told VOA last week. The strategy is to be as light-touch as possible as the region is steered to the snap elections in December, which the Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is gambling will go against the separatists.
A poll published by El Pais Saturday suggested a small majority of Catalans (52 percent to 43 percent) favour the dissolution of the regional parliament and the holding of the early elections. Fifty-five percent of Catalan respondents opposed the declaration of independence, with 41 percent in favour of secession.(VOA)
March 13, 2017: Holi is one of the main festivals of India. But you’ll be surprised to know that Holi is not just celebrated in India, but also in foreign countries. However, the time and tradition in which foreigners celebrate Holi very different from India.
While one country plays Holi with tomatoes, the other plays it with just water. In some countries, Holi is celebrated by lighting fire at the roundabout on roads. Although the names their Holi-like festivals are different, but they are played just like Indians play Holi.
Not many people know about this but people in Italy celebrate Holi alike festival with a twist. They celebrate it with Oranges.
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The Battle of Oranges is a festival celebrated in the Northern Italian city of Ivrea where people in organized groups throw Oranges at each other. It is the largest food fight in Italy.
People of Normandy in France, burn the idols made of hay on this day. Before burning it, they keep abusing the idols and shout in front of it. They throw colours on it and on each other as well.
During Easter, people cut trees and bury them. Around this they keep sack of grass and burn it. On this day, they even put colour on each other and celebrate.
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Remember the amazing sequence where all the stars of the movie Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara indulged in the festivity of Tomato while they were in Spain? Yes, it was the way Spain plays Holi.
La Tomatina is a food festival held on the last Wednesday of August each year where thousands and thousands of people gather from all around the world and participate in the ‘Worlds Biggest Food Fight.’
The Boryeong Mud Festival is an annual mud festival which takes place during the summer in Boreyong, a town in South Korea. The first mud festival started in 1998.
Mud festival attracts millions from around the globe that take place for two weeks where sports like mud wrestling, mud king, mud pool and mud skiing are organized.
These are the few examples where people celebrate our festival but with some twists. We can say it just on the basis of seniority. After all, our tradition of celebrating is the oldest and they followed our path or maybe got inspired from us.
But there is a saying in Hindi, “Aloo aur Indians, duniya ke har kone mein mil jaaenge,” and we live it to this saying. We are scattered all around the globe spreading our traditions culture. So other than India, few countries which celebrate Indian festivity at massive level are-
United States of America
A sizeable population of Indians can be found in the USA, which tells us the reason why the festival is observed with such gaiety there. In USA, religious organizations and societies take the responsibility of organizing the festival. Musical programs and meets are conducted to fill the air with the spirit of India. New York is completely dabbled by the colorful waters. Holi is marked by parades and attended by Indians, rejoicing, playing with colors in the midst.
In UK, the revelry of Holi is seen profoundly at places with a large congregation of Indians. The British city of Leicester is particularly known for its love for celebrating Indian festivals. The enthusiasm reaches its peak on the occasion of Holi. The joyous festival is marked with social gatherings and exchange of sweets. People enjoy the day by smearing colors on each other and playing with water, just as it is done back home, in India.
The Indians settled in South Africa have made it a point to keep the tradition of celebrating Holi alive in South Africa, the southernmost country of the continent of Africa. The Indians in South Africa play with colors, on the occasion of Holi. They sing songs, which is one of the prominent parts of the celebrations. People exchange gifts and greet each other and the evenings are spent in meeting friends and acquaintance.
After getting through all of the above, we can easily comprehend that our HOLI is not just limited to the subcontinent region, it is travelling and settling into the hearts of people all around the world; just like us.
Happy Global Holi India!
-prepared by Ashish Srivastava of NewsGram Twitter @PhulRetard
Afghanistan, August 29, 2016: Police in Italy say a migrant from Afghanistan travelled 400 kilometers along a highway strapped to the bottom of a truck.
According to reports on August 23, the Afghan youth was detained by police along the Naples-Rome stretch of the A1 highway. Police were alerted by motorists who noticed him suspended from his makeshift harness.
More than 100,000 migrants have arrived in Italy since the start of the year. Many of them try to avoid registering there in the hope of being able to make asylum requests in northern Europe. (BBG Direct)