Catalan carnival children dress up as baton-wielding Spanish police


12 FEBRUARY 2018 • 2:57PM

ACatalan carnival float has drawn criticism for depicting children as baton-wielding Spanish police, as tensions surrounding the independence crisis burst into this year’s parades.

The float, styled as the much-mocked cruise ship on which Spanish police were deployed to Catalonia in October, drew cheers of delight from many onlookers as it rolled through the town of Torrelles de Llobregat.

But critics seized on the float - manned by around a dozen children in full riot gear and bedecked with the independence flag - as another example of what they say is rampant political indoctrination in Catalonia.

The Societat Civil Catalana, a Catalan anti-independence group, denounced the float as “unbelievable”, while others complained secessionists were “using” children for political purposes.

AEB Catalunya, an organisation campaigning against the predominance of Catalan language in schools, suggested an “adult indoctrinator” was behind the float.

En la escuela catalana no se adoctrina. Nunca.
Por eso, en el carnaval de Torrelles de Llobregat baja un vehículo caracterizado como el barco Piolín, con simbología indepe, y repleto de niños disfrazados de policías.
Lo normal.

“Our association is against using children for political ends and in the case of the Torrelles float it is evident that a child did not come up with this themselves,” Ana Losada, a spokesperson for the group, told The Telegraph.

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he said that while political satire in Carnival was nothing new, there was not a single float in the parade which had taken on the independence movement, a fact which she claimed demonstrated a lack of freedom of expression in the current political climate.

C
arnival was always an opportunity to “see the reality with humour”, Ms Losada said, but this year was reflecting the “undoubtable” social fracture in Catalonia and the emboldenment of secessionists, “who feel more free to mock everything that is related with Spain”.

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uch incidents often took place with the support of local institutions led by nationalists, she claimed.

In the town of Ripoll, a float featuring semi-naked models of Ines Arrimadas, the Catalan leader of pro-union party Ciudadanos, and Soraya Saenz de Santamaria, the Spanish deputy prime minister who is governing Catalonia under direct rule, stirred ire among opponents of secession.

The scene, in which the two female politicians were portrayed wearing nothing but aprons and witches’ hats and with the pair in a sexual position, was denounced by unionists as obscene.

El Catalan, an anti-independence news site, fumed that “secessionism is grazing levels of moral baseness difficult to surpass in future, when one day you think they can’t go any further, the next they do it again”.

With Catalan politics at an impasse over Carles Puigdemont's bid to return to the presidency and Madrid maintaining direct rule under Article 155, frustrations are taking form in some inventive ways.

Pro-independence Catalans have shrugged off complaints about such floats, accusing critics of hypocrisy at a time when anti-secessionist parodies are proliferating elsewhere in Spain.