Catalonian “Estelada” flags, which reflect a desire and support of Catalonia’s independence, caused controversy when they were recently banned from the Copa del Rey (meaning “King’s Cup”) soccer game by the Community of Madrid.

Futbol Club Barcelona, a professional soccer club based in Catalonia, publicly derided the action, saying that it was attacking the Catalonian “freedom of expression.” In addition, Barcelona claimed that such censorship went against the stipulations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

On the other hand, officials have defended the ban as a means of security. Reportedly, such “Estelada” flags, which have endured censorship before, have led to conflict in the past.

Last year, for example, the aforementioned Futbol Club Barcelona was issued a €40,000 fine by the Union of European Football Associations, which serves as Europe’s governing body of the sport, over the distribution of saidflags, which prompted separatist groups to hand out moreflags at another game in protest.

"Friends in high places"

Those against the decision, however, may have friends in high places, as the Catalonian regional president Carles Puigdemont and Barcelona mayor Ada Colauhave both stated that they will not attend the event as a form of boycott and protest.Both politiciansalso turned to social media to protest the move as well.

Catalonia’s push for independence

This controversy over a sports event reflects a greater issue in politics, Catalonia’s ongoing struggle to obtain independence.

The autonomous community of Catalonia, one of the seventeen that makes up the entirety of Spain, has recently pushed forward in recent years in trying to become an independent nation.The most commonly cited reason for secession by officials is autonomy over taxation, as the community believes that it pays too much in taxes to Madrid than it believes it gets in return, and would be better off economically independent.Added to that, the people of Catalonia often feel that they have a culture separate from the rest of Spain, such as having its own language.

However, while the Catalan language is a large part of the debate and expected to serve as the official language of an independent Catalonia, a majority do speak Castilian Spanish, and other autonomous communities, such as within the Basque Country, also have their own languages.

Yet, majority is still a key word in this debate, as while support for independence is said to be increasing over the years, such a push reportedly does not have the majority’s support.To put it into context, the Catalan parliament’s independence supporters recently won a majority of 48 percent.

In other words, those against secession have it in their favor that the opposition represent less than half.

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