Catalan referendum: Communities nervous how independence stand-off with Spain will end

Catalan referendum: Communities nervous how independence stand-off with Spain will end

Catalan referendum: Communities nervous how independence stand-off with Spain will end

Updated 23 October 2017, 20:20 AEDT

Many Catalonians are fearful of how the current stand-off with Madrid over the region's recent independence referendum will play out in coming weeks.

A small festival is taking place in the town of Sant Just Desvern on the outskirts of Barcelona.

Several teams have gathered to build and dismantle spectacular human towers, eight levels tall — the activity is a Catalan tradition.

Building the towers requires trust and close cooperation, attributes some believe are in short supply in this region at the moment.

"We are seeing a complete breakdown in the way people are living together," claims local resident Charles Ablett.

"We have a real problem now with families being split, parents and children being split, brothers and sisters split, workers split".

"I'm worried this is going to get much worse".

He's talking, of course, about the push by Catalonia's regional leaders for independence from Spain.

Everyone has a view and opinions in this tight-knit community differ vastly.

Some have spent much of their lives dreaming of secession.

"[Spain] doesn't see Catalonia as its own nation," Consol Amoros Valls said.

"Little by little over the years they've been putting pressure on us instead of giving us more freedom."

Many others here though are shocked at how far the current stand-off between leaders in Madrid and Catalonia has escalated.

"Right now I'm horrified and I feel very sorry about everything that is happening," Teresa Comas said.

"We should admit that the referendum proposed by [Catalan President Carles] Puigdemont was not a legal referendum but at the same time the voice of the Catalan people has to be taken into account."

The independence movement is generally stronger in regional or inland Catalonia than in the centre of the capital, Barcelona.

Several supporters of secession we meet are disappointed the European Union has ignored their pleas for help.

"It fears this would be a precedent," Carme Colomina from the Barcelona Centre for International Affairs said.

"It was the same with Scotland, so what [the EU] feels is Catalonia could be domino piece just making the other one's fall behind them."

In Sant Just Desvern there is a sense of nervousness about how long this crisis could drag on for and how far it might escalate.

As things currently stand, no-one really knows what will happen next and few are confident enough to predict how this is all going to end.