With direct rule looming, bloodshed becomes more likely – the separatists and Spanish government can’t afford not to reach a compromise

Is the independence of Catalonia a cause worth dying for? This question appeared hypothetical until voters in Barcelona and other Catalan cities found themselves under police attack during last Sunday’s controversial independence referendum. While separatist leaders say hundreds were injured, fortunately no one was killed. Mariano Rajoy, Spain’s conservative prime minister who oversaw the assault, should count himself lucky. The violence was viewed around the world via social media, turning international opinion against the government. Creating martyrs for the opposition is not the way to win a political argument.

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