Some weeks ago it was announced that the Princess of Girona Foundation wouldn't hold its traditional prize-giving ceremony in Girona this year after the city council refused to grant them a venue last year and they had to take refuge on private property. The board decided to move the event to Barcelona in a controversial decision, reports suggest, with the majority advocating directly for it to be moved to Madrid. It was the first symptom of the doubts there were about how to handle the king's presence in Catalonia after the vacuum the Catalan government is subjecting him to, the rejection the crown has suffered from the Parliament and the broad protests sparked by his latest visits. In fact, since 21st September, when his last trip here took place, they've opted for turning down any event he might have been invited to.
This situation, which reflects Catalan society's large-scale rejection of the Spanish monarchy, will be taken up a notch this Tuesday with the decision to move to Madrid the presentation of official offices to the new judges trained at the Judicial School in Barcelona. It will be the first time that's happened since the centre which trains all Spain's judges was opened in the Catalan capital in 1977. Last year, in the middle of Spanish government intervention in Catalonia, they were held in Barcelona and that situation resulted in there being no Catalan government figure present, something which wouldn't have happened this year, obviously, if the president had attended. With political prisoners, exiles and on the eve of the trial of the independence referendum, it seems as if fear has taken hold of the Spanish authorities.
On 21st December last year, the Spanish government needed thousands of police to protect a cabinet meeting in Barcelona. An eccentricity from Pedro Sánchez which only reflected his difficulties moving around Catalan territory. They're examples of a situation which would be unthinkable in any other European country and which won't reduce with the Spanish state's repression nor with statements like that this Sunday from the defence minister, Margarita Robles, that the armed forces are the principal guarantors of the constitutional order. Appeals like this run contrary to the times when concepts like "people" and "democracy" should come first.