Results are in on the long-anticipated Catalonia referendum, and secession won in a big way, with over 2 million voters, and 90% of those who voted, supporting secession from Spain and the establishment of an independent Catalan state.
Catalan President Carles Puigdemont says that Catalonia has earned its independence today, facing down a violent crackdown by Spanish national police, and said he intends to make a direct appeal to the European Union as soon as possible to complain about human rights violations by Spanish forces.
Spanish police were out in force from early morning through the end of the referendum, smashing voting booths and attacking voters. When firemen showed up to try to keep the police away from crowds of voters, the police attacked them too.
Over 844 people were reported injured in the raids, along with 33 police. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy insisted Spanish police were forced to act and that the referendum was a “mockery” of a real vote.
The overwhelming “yes” vote likely reflects both anger at weeks of violent crackdowns by the Spanish, and opponents of the secession being unwilling to risk a beat-down to cast their ballots.
The turnout was still impressive, in excess of 40% of the eligible voters. This was a bit lower than was expected, but with at least 92 polling stations destroyed by riot police, it’s unsurprising that some were simply not able to keep going from station to station to try to vote.
Spain has ruled out allowing Catalonia to secede, and the violent police action was meant to preclude a vote taking place. Rajoy insisted Spanish rule of law remained in place, and no referendum took place at all.
Though most countries expressed opposition to Catalan secession, and secession in general, considerable outrage about Spain’s behavior today may change that, and a general strike is planned within Catalonia on Tuesday to reiterate their plans to break off from Spanish rule.
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