Demonstrators wave Spanish flags and shout in front of city hall during a demonstration in favor of a unified Spain a day before a banned October 1 independence referendum in Catalonia, in Madrid, Spain, September 30, 2017. REUTERS/Sergio Perez TPX Demonstrators wave Spanish flags and shout in front of city hall during a demonstration in favor of a unified Spain a day before a banned October 1 independence referendum in Catalonia, in Madrid, Spain, September 30, 2017. REUTERS/Sergio Perez TPX

Live Stream:The Catalonian tug-of-war commences

Sun, Oct. 1, 2017
CAIRO – 1 October 2017: Catalonia’s regional government held an independence referendum on October 1.



Many Catalans are still angry about the Spanish constitutional court’s decision seven years ago to annul or reinterpret parts of the 2006 Catalan Statute of Autonomy, which would have afforded the region greater independence.

Opinion polls show that 70 percent of Italians want to be able to vote in a referendum. A survey two months ago showed that 49.4 percent of Italians were against independence and 41.1 percent supported it.

The Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, has insisted that the referendum will not commence and has promised to use all legal means at the government’s disposal to prevent it.

On Saturday, the Spanish police closed polling stations and the Catalan communications center in attempt to prevent a referendum in Catalonia which has divided Spain, according to Reuters.

Enrique Mio, the representative of the Spanish government in Catalonia, announced that the police sealed with red wax more than half of the polling stations in Catalonia, which amounts to 2,300 stations where separatist authorities wanted to organize a banned referendum on Sunday.

Subsequently, the Catalan separatists occupied dozens of schools that were selected as polling stations to prevent police from closing them.

Tens of thousands of Catalans are expected to attempt to vote in a ballot that will have no legal status as it has been blocked by Spain's Constitutional Court and Madrid, for being at odds with the 1978 constitution.

Catalonia is a wealthy region in Spain with its own language, which is taught in schools, and is universally spoken.

"We slept and waited for the police so they would not try to drive us out or let us know what they wanted," said Giselle, who did not mention her title, at a central school in Barcelona where adults and children slept in sleeping bags, Reuters reported.

aa
People queue to vote in the banned independence referendum at a polling station in Barcelona, Spain, October 1, 2017. REUTERS/Susana Vera

Despite efforts by the central government and the court to prevent the referendum, Catalonia leader, Carles Puigdemont, told Reuters on Friday it would go ahead without any last-minute compromise.

At the final meeting of the Independence Campaign in Barcelona, on September 29, the people formed the slogan, "Democratic Referendum," in large white letters on stage in front of a cheering crowd, causing many to dance in red and yellow Catalan colors.

Hundreds gathered in the center of Madrid, waving Spanish flags, chanting, "Spanish unity," and, "Do not be fooled - Catalonia is Spain." Many balconies in the capital are draped with red and yellow flags.

In Catalonia, referendum organizers asked voters to turn up at 7 a.m. (05:00 GMT) ahead of the polls opening at 9 a.m. Schools are traditionally where voting take place in Spain.

a (3)
Demonstrators wave Spanish flags during a demonstration in favor of a unified Spain on the day of a banned independence referendum in Catalonia, in Madrid, Spain, October 1, 2017. REUTERS/Rafael Marchante

The referendum raises differences in the rich province of northeastern Spain, placing Catalan officials in direct conflict with the central government, in one of the biggest crises in Spain since the democratization of the country after the death of dictator Francisco Franco in 1975. The crisis also provokes divisions among the Catalans themselves, many of whom want to settle the issue in a legal vote.

Catalonia's High Court said on Sunday that courts in the region had received several complaints over the local police's failure to close polling stations despite orders to enforce a judical ban on the referendum.

Some 844 people have been injured in disturbances across Catalonia on Sunday, the regional government said, as riot police clashed with people who had gathered for a banned referendum on the region's independence from Spain.
There are no comments on this article.

Leave a comment