After trending on social media at the end of December, Tabarnia — a movement that seeks independence from Catalonia’s Barcelona and Tarragona regions so that they can remain in Spain — has been officially presented at the Association of Catalan Journalists. There was even video connection with the exiled satirical president of Tabarnia, Albert Boadella, an obvious nod to Catalonia’s former president Carles Puigdemont, who is in self-imposed exile. Boadella was applauded by the “Tabarnese” who were also in attendance as he spoke of how he’s fed up with Catalonia’s independence movement.
According to the spokesman, Jaume Vives, the goal of Tabarnia — which is a parody at the moment — is “to reflect the absurdity of the movement that seeks Catalonian independence from Spain.” Vives said that Tabarnia, “has lived clandestinely until October 8”, when the first big demonstration in favour of the unity of Spain took place. Until then, he says, “we were silenced.”
Vives explained they feel “tired of the pro-independence movement, tired of being second-class Catalans.” That’s why, according to Tabarnia supporter Joan López Alegre, “It’s necessary to stand up against them.”
Boadella, who is a well-known Spanish comedian, said the Catalan secessionist movement has divided society and harmed the economy. In his video interview while in “exile”, he said, “The Catalan Parliament is the real national theatre of Catalonia.”
Boadella’s speech brought to the room shouts among the attendees: “Viva Tabarnia!” and “President, president!.” Boadella, who accused separatist leaders of dividing Catalonia, Spain and Europe, said: “I am a clown, but compared to them (the secessionist leaders) I am a modest apprentice.”
Tabarnia’s goals include recovering “the true history” of Catalonia that was “manipulated by the pro-independence supporters.” It also hopes to achieve “peace in society”. Tabarnia also wants to reform the electoral law, as they claim that the votes of Barcelona’s citizens count less than those who live in other Catalan regions. It’s also important for the group that “Puigdemont remains in Brussels, since, otherwise, the security of the ‘Tabarnese’ can be threatened.” Vives notes that this is all done with a sense of humour and satire.
While the movement was initially a parody, the Tabarnia movement has begun to take real action. Tabarnia organisers plan to get their supporters out on to the streets, such as a demonstration in favour of the independence of Barcelona and Tarragona, and make one threat clear: “If the secessionist movement declares independence again, Tabarnia will become a reality, as an autonomous community of Spain,”, said Alegre.
The organisers, including Alegre and Vives, said Tabarnia has been brought forward so that no one will fear that their future is in the hands of Catalan’s secessionist leaders.
“We won’t allow them to force us to leave Spain,” said Alegre.
Anna Lladó Ferrer for euronews