Homage to Barcelona

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Homage to Barcelona

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AN AFFECTIONATE PORTRAIT OF AN INCREDIBLE CITY, DIVIDED POLITICALLY BUT UNITED IN PASSION

Everything changed in 2017 when the Spanish government cracked down hard on an illegal independence referendum held by the regional Catalan government. Thousands of national riot police descended on the Catalan capital of Barcelona, dragging voters away from polling stations, firing rubber bullets and locking up the movement’s leaders. The brutal repression of the vote provoked months of political turmoil and divided the city between those in favour of independence and those against.

To understand the push for independence, this special report traces today’s political passions back to the centuries-old tensions between centrist Spain and Catalonia, when Madrid first repressed the region’s distinct language and culture. Then to more recent history, when dictator Francisco Franco tried to kill off the Catalan language and traditions.

Today in Barcelona those traditions are very much alive. Behind the tourist traps, is a city still celebrating its culture, from the neighbourhood ‘castell’ – or human castle – competitions, to football games where independence chants are a feature of every match, to riotous medieval festivals with devils, giant puppets and fireworks. This is an affectionate portrait of an incredible city at an incredible time - a community divided politically but united in its passion for its capital and culture.

A Foreign Correspondent Story

Credits

Foreign Correspondent
Australian Broadcasting Corporation