What do protests against President Bauzá and a visit by Pollensa's mayor to the nature park of La Gola in Puerto Pollensa have to do with each other? Very little on the face of it, but both can be considered as good PR.
Why are the protests good PR? The answer is simple. Get crowds of the youth stroppy mob indulging in some chanting and lobbing the odd missile and the propaganda value is incalculable. It all works in the president's favour. Kick up enough fuss about violent demonstrators and everyone will start tutting and having sympathy for a president battling against problems of economic crisis. The demonstrators would be far better served going along and standing in silence or with their backs to Bauzá when he arrives. This would send out a very different message, and the interpretation of the demonstration would be very different.
Bauzá has been putting in appearances all over the place, conducting a Cook's tour of the provinces. One day Pollensa and Santa Margalida, the next day Artà and Cala Ratjada. The tour is all in aid of getting around the local Partido Popular branches, but it has another, more cynical side to it. The president and his advisors could have expected a spot of bother and demonstrators duly obliged on the first stop of the tour in Inca. They couldn't have hoped for better. One demo spawns another. Copycatism. When politicians then condemn violence (and there has been little or no real violence) and start chucking around insults of their own at opposition parties which don't appear to be as inclined to do some condemning of their own, don't be fooled into believing that they aren't anything but delighted.
The additional PR benefit to Bauzá is that once the demos had started in Inca and then Manacor, he can then say that he will not be cowed or deterred by the "violence" and will continue on his tour. Were he not to, then democracy would be undermined and besides he is the democratically elected president; all this sort of guff. People are astonishingly naïve if they fail to see the propaganda purposes of Bauzá's tour, while the demonstrators have been astonishingly naïve, not to say stupid, in falling into the trap.
Then there was the visit of mayor Cifre to La Gola. He was accompanied by the government's environment minister, Biel Company. No demos, but instead a photo opportunity for the two men who essentially run the nature park. One fancies they were there more out of sufferance rather than really wanting to be there. As someone had decided that Thursday was European Day of Nature Parks, something would have to have been done to acknowledge the fact. Why not go to La Gola as a way of marking the day? At a stroke, not only could the day be given an official stamp of celebration, so also could it be shown that the town hall and the ministry were there at La Gola, taking seriously their responsibilities for its operation and its visitors' centre, a centre which is hardly ever open and will still be open for only parts of the year; it's going to shut again for two months at the end of June.
So, it was all good PR again, designed to quell the criticisms of town hall and ministry alike regarding their management of La Gola. Once more, if anyone truly believes the visit represents a more proactive attitude on behalf of these institutions towards La Gola, then they are being naïve. The visit was about putting in and keeping up appearances by making an appearance that wouldn't normally have been made, had it not been for the fortuitous coincidence of nature parks day.
Back to the Bauzá protests. These have also been somewhat embarrassing for all concerned. The number of school kids shown in a video issued by "Ultima Hora" attending the demo in Santa Margalida suggested that this was far from a protest of real militants and was not something of any "violence". But there is a more serious side to this, which is that the mere presence of those school kids does perhaps represent an example of a growing radicalisation of Mallorca's youth who are embracing more the Catalanist message. This radicalisation is one I have suggested has been occurring before through seemingly innocent events such as the "Acampallengua", the annual camp for promoting Catalan culture and the Catalan language among Mallorca's youth. The next one is to be held over the first weekend of June in Manacor, one of the main centres of opposition to Bauzá. It may not be as innocent as previous ones.
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