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But it’s a way to open the situation to the world

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Spain Braces for ‘Verbal Violence’

BARCELONA, Spain A long hail of whistles and jeers from a crowd numbering in the cheap moncler coats mens tens of thousands might not be the most articulate way to express a political opinion, Arnau Pans acknowledged with a shrug. But, in his eyes, it can serve a purpose. Barcelona and, like many such fans, an active supporter of the Catalan independence movement. On Saturday, for the fifth moncler online store consecutive year, Barcelona the most high profile of Catalan institutions will appear in the final of the Copa del Rey, the oldest soccer tournament in Spain. moncler uk outlet And for the fifth cheap moncler jackets womens straight year, that meant questions about free expression and the boundaries of political etiquette would be debated as vehemently this week as questions about team tactics and lineups.

The final of the Copa del Rey the King’s Cup is the only occasion in Spanish club soccer that cheap moncler jackets features the playing of the national anthem. cheap moncler jackets mens So for the past several years, that brief ritual has given fans uk moncler sale of Barcelona who sympathize with the independence cause the chance to whistle and jeer the song and the royalty in attendance with impunity, subverting the stately ritual and exasperating their critics.

“It’s a way to show the world that best moncler jackets something’s happening in Spain, in Catalonia,” Pans, moncler sale online a graduate student, said last Saturday outside Camp Nou, Barcelona’s home stadium. “We know whistling the anthem is not moncler outlet store a solution. But it’s a way to open the situation to the world.”

Soccer fans in Hong Kong, for example, have for the past moncler outlet woodbury few years booed and turned their backs when the Chinese anthem, “March of the Volunteers,” plays before their national team matches. In France, politicians called cheap moncler for the cancellation of future games after Tunisian born fans booed the French uk moncler outlet anthem before moncler outlet a friendly between France and Tunisia in 2008. quarterback Colin Kaepernick have knelt silently during the national anthem to draw attention to police brutality moncler outlet online and racial injustice.

But whistling the European equivalent of American boos at the Spanish anthem at the Copa del Rey has become a particularly inescapable gesture precisely because of Barcelona’s unique position as a soccer powerhouse and a vessel for pro Catalan ideals. This Saturday’s game against Sevilla in Madrid will represent Barcelona’s eighth trip to the Copa del Rey final in the past 10 years, meaning the jeers aimed at the anthem, and the king, have moncler womens jackets effectively become a fixture of the event.

“You have this gesture of protest against these state symbols, and the centralist Spanish side picks up on it, becomes indignant and scandalized, and the whole thing escalates into a nationalist moncler usa debate,” said Mariann Vaczi, an anthropologist who has studied the intersection of nationalism and sports in Spain. “So something that starts out as a gesture becomes a ghost, a recurrent monster, for the Spanish state and the royal family, all because the team has a moncler outlet prices habit of getting to the cup final.”

Amid the yearly specter of whistles, the same criticisms ring out, too. Repeating a popular refrain, Javier Tebas, the president of La Liga, said this month in a television interview that “there should be punishments, including stopping the game” for disrespecting the “symbols of the nation.” On Wednesday afternoon, Tebas told reporters that whistling the anthem was “verbal violence,” citing the millions of people in Spain, including some in Catalonia, who have emotional ties to the song.

The harshest critics of the jeering regularly call for the criminalization of acts seen to disrespect the national anthem and other symbols of the government and monarchy. Others simply find it disrespectful.

Yet irreverence toward the Spanish anthem in sports stadiums has a century old history in this city. On January 24, 1925, Barcelona fans jeered the anthem, and applauded the British anthem, during an exhibition match. In response, Miguel Primo de Rivera, the dictator of Spain at the time, ordered the stadium, Camp de Les Corts, closed for six months as punishment.

The act was revived as early as 2009, when Barcelona reached its first Copa del Rey final in a decade. That day it faced Athletic Bilbao, a team from the Basque region that has its own sizable segment of separatist fans. The result was a deafening chorus of whistles and shouts discount moncler jackets as King Juan Carlos grimly looked on. The teams have met in the final two other times in the past decade, in 2012 and 2015; each time, raucous booing drowned out the regal melody.

Fans protested the Spanish national anthem at the 2015 Copa del Rey final.

“We do not like anyone to whistle anyone, but we always respect freedom of expression,” Josep Vives, a spokesman for the club, said this week. “Freedom of expression has never scared us.”

Speaking at a book event on Wednesday, the club’s president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, said, “I’d like to think that when the majority of our supporters have expressed themselves by whistling, they haven’t done it to belittle moncler sale any symbols, but to protest against certain attitudes against the people of Catalonia that have taken place in recent years.”

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Inside Camp Nou last Saturday, at the 17:14 mark of the game (a reference to a 1714 military defeat that Catalans commemorate as their national day), a large portion of the stadium engaged in https://www.cheapmoncler.com a chant of “Independencia!” and waved Catalan flags. Earlier this month during a Champions League match, the chants were accompanied by a flurry of yellow balloons that symbolized support for the Catalan politicians imprisoned for staging Catalonia’s unconstitutional independence referendum last fall. Play was briefly halted, after some balloons drifted onto the field, and the club is facing a disciplinary investigation from UEFA, European soccer’s governing body. Barcelona. Xavier Roig, a communications consultant and Barcelona season ticket holder, said he stopped going to the stadium about seven years ago because he became “too uncomfortable with all the pro independence flags and shouting, which only represents one part of Catalan society.”

“I feel the club has allowed itself to be invaded by radical Catalan nationalism,” added Roig, who once led the campaign to elect Joan Laporta as president of the club. He suggested the club was tacitly encouraging such behavior.

Fans said that the whistling happens organically, but activists have tried to latch onto it. Ahead of the 2009 final, Santiago Espot, a businessman and activist who once unsuccessfully ran for mayor of the city of Barcelona, cheap moncler sale organized a news conference in which he urged Basque and Catalan fans to boo the king and the anthem. For that, Espot was sued by the Foundation for the Defense of the Spanish Nation, a right wing association, though a judge from Spain’s national court ultimately turned down the complaint.

Last moncler sale outlet December, however, another judge from the national court took a different stance, fining Espot 7,200 euros (almost $9,000) for publishing a manifesto justifying booing ahead of the 2015 final, when King Felipe VI visited Camp Nou a year after succeeding his father. Espot said in an interview that he was prepared to appeal his sentence to the European Court of Human Rights, which recently struck down another Spanish ruling against Catalan activists who had burned a photo of the king and his wife.

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