August 24, 2010
On Soccer and Bullfighting
Vincent Navarro explains the Catalan bullfighting ban:
[T]he Barcelona club ... was more than a soccer club. It was the rallying point for the democratic forces, not only in Catalonia but in other parts of Spain, in the struggle against fascism. The matches between Barça and the Royal Soccer Club of Madrid (favored by the Franco regime) were electrifying. When Barça won a game, the numbers of police on the streets of Barcelona would be tripled to repress the popular joy.
The Catalan revenge for the Constitutional Court’s decision [to veto many of the important provisions of the Catalan Constitution] ... came when the parliament of Catalonia voted, in late July, to ban bullfighting, which is considered by the Spanish right wing as the "national fiesta" in the rest of Spain and as important to the Spanish national identity. The initiative was led by animal rights groups, but there’s no doubt that the anger of large numbers of Catalans toward the Spanish right-wing and the institutions of the Spanish state, and especially the Constitutional Court, played a major role in the ban on bullfighting in Catalonia. Just weeks before, the press had published photographs of three members of the Court enjoying a bullfight. That did it.