"Out!” Catalunya reveals against the presence of the Spanish police
Two days after the referendum of independence, Catalan society takes to the streets to show its indignation against police violence during the voting day, which left more than 700 injured. Madrid denies that police violence and remains deaf to the protests of Catalan society.
(Barcelona). Businesses and theaters closed, a suspended public transport, roads cut… And in the street, thousands and thousands of people demonstrating with Catalan flags and banners against police violence. This is how Catalonia lived - and especially the city of Barcelona, the day of general strike convened by the independence parties in protest of the repression of the central government against the holding of a referendum for the independence from Spain that took place last Sunday, October 1st.
The brutality of the Spanish police against the citizens who tried to vote left more than 700 injured, according to figures from the Catalan government, provoking the indignation of citizenship and accentuating the social division that has existed for years between Catalonia and the rest of Spain.
The Catalan government had unilaterally convened the disputed referendum, which has elicited so much opposition from the central government – under the control of the conservative Popular Party (PP) - about two months ago, and the Spanish Justice declared it unconstitutional.
Instead of choosing dialogue, the PP government, led by Mariano Rajoy, opted for the hard-hitting policy, sending hundreds of national police and Civil Guard agents to Catalonia a week before the referendum.
Despite carrying out searches of government offices, arrests of public officials and confiscation of ballot boxes and electoral posters, the Catalans held their referendum and opened the polling stations, without a clue that the police would attack them by using excessive violence.
The national police argue that it obeyed court orders to evict polling stations to justify the show of gratuitous violence they offered to voters, armed only with ballot papers.
The forces of order, equipped with anti-riot gear, had no qualms about breaking glass schools and lashing out against elders and women. Photographs of police violence in Catalunya on Sunday have gone around the world thanks to the international press, but the PP government continues to deny that there was unjustified violence, assuring that the referendum "did not take place."
Meanwhile, state television workers in Catalonia (TVE Catalunya) have denounced in a statement that their media forced them to manipulate the chronicles of what happened during the referendum to avoid talking about "police charges."
And so on, while Rajoy remains impassive to what happened on Sunday and the shouts of thousands of Catalans who yesterday went out to protest the police violence.
Hundreds of young people in front of the barracks of the National Police in Barcelona shouted, “Fora!" ("Get out!”) to “the occupation forces" or "if you don’t jump then you’re a cop” ("Boti boti, boti, policia qui no boti").
Catalonia has its own police force, the Mossos, whose mission these days is to ensure the safety of the national police who remain displaced in Catalonia.
Adding fuel to the fire, King Felipe VI of Spain -who was starting to be criticized for his silence - gave a televised speech in the evening and accused the region’s separatist leaders of “inadmissible disloyalty.”
He also warned of economic disruption and social division created by separatists in Catalonia.
What will happen tomorrow? Will the Catalan government declare independence by its own means? This is what many citizens, Catalans and Spaniards wonder - given the political uncertainty and lack of dialogue between the two sides.
The referendum had the participation of 42% of the Catalan population and the "yes" won by 90%. But it is still an illegal referendum, without international recognition. Catalan President Carles Puigdemont has asked for international mediation to negotiate with Madrid, but the central government offers no sign of dialogue. Otherwise he will call for a unilateral declaration of independence "soon."