Minutes after the primary few thousand votes had been posted, the regional president and main secessionist, Carles Puigdemont, appeared on stage to announce that Catalonia had received “the correct to independence” and known as on Europe to help its cut up from Spain.
However nothing concerning the vote was common – or orderly, clear or peaceable. Pictures of police beating voters in trendy, cosmopolitan Barcelona fueled a widespread notion that Europe, specifically, and the West, generally – removed from cheering on the breakup of Spain – face but extra tensions and dislocation.And it’s removed from clear that Catalonia is any nearer to independence. The vote left the area and nation deeply divided.
In a tv tackle late Sunday, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy stated there was no actual independence vote in Catalonia. He stated a majority of the residents of the area had not even confirmed up on the polls.Over the weekend, boisterous activist-voters had introduced their kids into colleges to defend the polling stations deemed unlawful by the central authorities in Madrid.
Quickly after the polls opened, Spanish riot police smashed into the voting facilities, their raids caught on cell phone cameras that confirmed them whipping atypical residents with rubber truncheons and dragging them away by their hair.
The plebiscite produced anxiousness and shock throughout Europe – the place many condemned the violence by the police but in addition anxious that Catalan secessionists had been violating the structure.
The secessionists stated Spain’s heavy-handed try to snuff out the referendum stirred recollections of the county’s darkish a long time of dictatorship.
Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau known as the day’s violence between police and residents “a rupture” in society.
Jordi Turull, the spokesman for the Catalonia regional authorities, described Spain’s use of police to suppress the vote as “the disgrace of Europe.”
However many in Spain noticed a manipulative propaganda play by secessionists to stage a one-sided referendum designed to provide a sure vote it doesn’t matter what.
“This was a tragic day,” stated Ines Arrimadas, a member of a center-right celebration in Catalonia who opposed the vote. “It was loopy to carry this referendum.”
She informed Catalonia’s public broadcaster, which is staunchly pro-secession, that “on this TV broadcast you’ll imagine the consequence, however nobody on the surface will.”
Spain’s international minister, Alfonso Dastis, known as the day’s violence “disagreeable” however “proportional.”
But the portrayal of the day’s occasions couldn’t have been worse for the central authorities. Though Madrid might need had the Spanish structure on its aspect, the photographs being blasted world wide confirmed peaceable residents being dragged away from the poll containers by helmeted police dressed all in black.
The vote in Catalonia was a mass act of civil disobedience, organized by the regional authorities however propelled by WhatsApp teams, encrypted messages and clandestine committees.
There have been stirring moments of individuals energy – and the activists who organized the vote had been usually two steps forward of Madrid.
Because the police pressured their method by means of shouting crowds into the schoolhouses that served as polling stations, the organizers spirited away the ballots and hid them within the school rooms amid coloring books and crayons.
An hour after police drove away from one faculty of their large black vans, beneath a hail of insults, the poll containers reemerged and the voting recommenced.
The sample was repeated repeatedly throughout a whole bunch of polling stations Sunday.
By late afternoon, the Catalan well being ministry stated 844 individuals had suffered minor accidents in brawls with police, who could possibly be seen punching some demonstrators. The officers additionally fired scores of rubber bullets at crowds in Barcelona and different cities. Officers in Madrid stated a dozen law enforcement officials had been injured.
The previous two weeks have seen mass demonstrations and a high-risk recreation of cat-and-mouse, because the secessionists sought to hold out a vote that Madrid vowed it might cease.
Because the central authorities shut down web sites selling the referendum, new apps popped as much as information voters.
The Catalan authorities, dominated by breakaway leaders, stated that regardless of police raids, greater than 70 % of the polling stations had been open Sunday afternoon.
Within the former textile city of Sabadell, the fifth-largest metropolis in Catalonia, a whole bunch of volunteers spent the evening within the colleges used as polling stations, strumming guitars and singing people songs from the outdated days. As they awoke in sleeping baggage sprawled within the hallways, their neighbors had been sneaking the poll containers into auditoriums.
Francesc Codina had spent the previous three weeks hiding the containers in a dusky wine cellar within the coronary heart of the town. Later, the plastic tubs, with the seal of the Catalan authorities, had been ferried round city, stashed in black plastic.
“They had been disguised as baggage of trash,” Codina stated. “However this was democracy we carried in our palms.”
Codina stated informers and intelligence officers had been looking out in all places for the ballots and containers.
He shrugged. “However there’s plenty of hiding locations.”
At a highschool for industrial coaching, Teresa Macia was volunteering as an observer for the vote. Requested whether or not she was afraid of violence or arrest, she answered, “No. And even when they scared me somewhat bit, it might be value it.”
In the meantime, the Spanish soccer league recreation between Barcelona and Las Palmas on the Camp Nou stadium went forward with none followers in attendance.
Simply earlier than the polls opened, the Catalan regional authorities declared that any registered voter might vote anyplace – as a substitute of getting to go to their assigned polling station of their residence cities. The voting lists, the regional authorities stated, can be digital and never printed as normal for the polling officers to test in opposition to identification playing cards.
However there have been issues immediately with registering the voters – and the net system was balky. And this, amongst all the opposite irregularities, raised questions concerning the legitimacy of the vote.
Those that opposed the vote – particularly the individuals who wish to stay in Spain – scoffed that the Catalans had been being allowed to vote as many instances as they like.
Anna Fernandez, helpful at computer systems, was requested to come back rapidly to the Escola Nostra Llar, Our Dwelling College, simply earlier than the voting started to assist get the glitchy digital lists to work.
“Then the police got here by means of the home windows,” stated the mom of three, all of whom attend the college. “They got here with large hammers. The outdated individuals locked their arms collectively and tried to cease them. They had been shouting at us, ‘The place are the ballots? The place are the containers?’ However by then, I do not know what occurred, however all the fabric, the papers, the computer systems, they’d all disappeared.”
She smiled and stated, “After which the ballots had been discovered and the persons are beginning to vote once more.”
Because the Nationwide Police left with out the ballots, the group hurled insults at them, calling them cowards, traitors and worse. An hour later, a brand new and longer line of voters stretched down the block, laughing and sharing movies, beneath their umbrellas within the rain.
Spain’s deputy prime minister, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, stated in a information convention that the “absolute irresponsibility of the Catalan authorities has needed to be handled by the professionalism of the state’s safety forces. With firmness and proportionality, we now have thrown into disarray the Catalan authorities’s plans. There hasn’t been a referendum nor the illusion of 1. Nothing good will come of this.
(This story has not been edited by ZariNews workers and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)