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Catalan separatists giving PR masterclass: Catalonia's independence advocates are winning `the battle of image and emotions
While this conflict has been characterised by the entrenched positions of the two sides, with neither willing to cede, there is a feeling that the independence movement has already won a crucial battle: that of international public relations.

The images of Spanish riot police attacking voters on the day of the referendum undoubtedly contributed to that notion. Juan Carlos Girauta, of the Ciudadanos party, which staunchly opposes Catalonia's right to self-determination, recently complained to the Spanish parliament that the independence movement had managed to "create in the international imagination the idea that present-day Spain has something in common with the Spain of the Franco era".

Rajoy's preference for a rigid and legalistic approach to the independence drive, rather than political engagement, has compounded that idea; but so too has the slick PR machinery of the separatist cause.

Within minutes of Cuixart and Sánchez being jailed on Monday, an online poster had gone viral, depicting the two men, dressed in white next to the slogan "Llibertat Jordis!" ("Free the Jordis!"). They had each also prepared a video message for their supporters, in the event of their detention. A three-minute video was also soon circulating, in English, in which a young woman presented Catalonia as a utopian region under siege from an oppressive state.

Such initiatives draw scorn and ridicule from opponents of independence, and Madrid has successfully kept the governments of powerful EU countries such as France and Germany on its side in this dispute. But Josep Borrell, a Catalan Socialist and former Spanish government minister, recently admitted "the independence movement has won the battle of emotions, of image, of mobilisation"



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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Oct 22nd, 2017 at 08:49:54 AM EST

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