Catalonia votes for independence, police respond with violence

  • Redakce ESJ
  • 2.10.2017 14:17

Catalan voters spoke out for independence on Sunday 1 October in a referendum on Catalonia's separation from Spain, but the vote was accompanied by extensive clashes with the police where the voters were met with violence.

About 2.26 million people voted, accounting only for 42 % of the electorate, from which 90 % voted for Catalonia's independence. The Spanish government, however, has taken an uncompromising stance on the illegal and irregular referendum. Spanish police, according to their spokesperson, first received an order to confiscate voting materials and prevent the referendum from taking place but ended up clashing with voters and pro-independence protesters, using rubber projectiles and tear gas. Almost 870 people were injured in the confrontation, according to Catalan sources. According to some analysts, Russian state media and pro-Russian social media accounts significantly shaped the image of the referendum in the media both before and after the vote. The Spanish government’s reaction was criticised by foreign politicians such as Scottish Prime Minister Nicole Sturgeon or Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel. On the other hand, British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson, despite reservations about the police intervention, pointed out the unconstitutionality of the referendum. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker reiterated the need for dialogue, illegality of the vote and trust in Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy in solving the crisis. 

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