African leaders call for peacekeeping force in Catalonia
The African Union has called for the deployment of international peacekeeping forces in the Catalan Region of Spain. This is in response to the recent violence and voter suppression that is being carried out against the region’s indigenous population. Militarised police forces were deployed to towns and cities in Catalonia over the weekend, wielding batons and riot guns in order to disrupt voting in an unofficial independence referendum.
Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and the Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta have both publicly called for the intervention of African Union forces and the removal of Spain’s current Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy. Uganda has gone one step further, offering asylum to the leaders of the Catalan separatist movement who are currently on the run from Spanish Police.
Rajoy of Spain has however hit back at this suggested intervention by African states: speaking at a military parade in the Spainish capital, Rajoy attacked the foreign intervention as a "subversion of Spanish sovereignty" and attempt to "meddle in Spanish affairs", adding:
“Africa thinks that just because we Europeans abused them for 200 years, that gives them some right to tell us what to do. I say that the Spanish people will not stand for such a hostile intervention. We are prepared and willing to fight for liberty in our own country”.
Spain has also made retaliations to Ugandan offers of asylum. Over the weekend, formal notices were delivered to the Ugandan Embassy in Spain demanding that it be vacated by the 10th of October. Ugandan schools, cultural centres and charity organisations based in Spain have also been forced to close. The Spanish embassy in Uganda is no longer issuing visas and Ugandans have been advised against all but essential travel.
The African Union is expected to vote on a resolution on Spain next Wednesday. Political commentators have also called for US involvement in any peacekeeping deployment. In a press statement on Sunday, US President Donald Trump responded by condemning the “hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides” in Catalonia.
More details to follow…