Can terrorism unite Spain?

Ten days after the attack in Barcelona around half a million people have demonstrated against terror and violence and for solidarity. A number of people in the crowds could be heard booing King Felipe and Prime Minister Rajoy, who also attended the demonstration - provoking the ire of some commentators. Others, however, praise the Spaniards' show of unity.

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La Repubblica (IT) /

Nationalism without solidarity

The solidarity of some demonstrators clearly doesn't reach any further than Catalonia's borders, La Repubblica criticises with an eye to the booing at the peace march in Barcelona:

“Apparently the defenders of Catalan nationalism couldn't resist the temptation to underscore their presence and importance. At a rally with several hundred thousand people that's not difficult. It's unlikely that those who booed formed the majority, nevertheless they're dominating the headlines. Unfortunately they do so at the expense of other, far more relevant matters that have now been pushed into the background: first and foremost the enormous solidarity shown by the entire country - and attested to by the presence of the head of state and the prime minister.”

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (DE) /

Rifts in the facade

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung has little hope that terror will unite the country:

“Within a shockingly short time after the attacks, the Catalan and Spanish politicians have started watching each others' every step full of distrust. Shortly before the political showdown it's obvious that in Barcelona even the tiniest image boost is more important than unity in the fight against terror. The Catalan parliament will probably pass the law on the October 1 referendum in the first week of September. … The Brexit shows how expensive and senseless the consequences of a political divorce can be. But it doesn't look like reason will prevail in the last minute. Instead it's to be feared that the images of unity on Saturday will soon be a thing of the past.”

El País (ES) /

Everyone has their place in a democracy

El País, by contrast, sees the democratic people of Spain united in their defiance against terror:

“Fortunately, for now the major parties have resisted the temptation to instrumentalise yesterday's march. These efforts must not be abandoned now. If anything positive can be said about yesterday's demonstration it is that there is room for everyone in our democracy. In the same way that everyone - from the king to the representatives of all the national parties and the regional and municipal authorities - found their place on the streets of this city recently hit by terrorism, everyone has their place in a state governed by the rule of law that is fearlessly confronting terrorism.”