Catalonian referendum

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Spain has been thrown into turmoil in these past few days; brother turned against brother, state against country. All this, as I am sure you know, because of the illegitimate independence referendum. The horrendous events surrounding the vote were not anticipated by either side; neither foresaw the atrocities at the polling stations nor the chaos in the streets – police kicking voters downstairs, dragging them by the hair into the street, firing rubber bullets into protesting crowds, and beating those protesting in peace with batons. The footage documenting this indubitable horror is widely available yet the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, stated that there was no referendum and that the police had acted with “firmness and serenity”.

The Spanish Constitutional Court, prior to the referendum, had declared it illegal and in opposition to Spain’s democratic constitution, and the 1978 vote, backed by 90% of Catalan voters, which gave the region sizeable autonomy and which necessitated “the indissoluble unity of the Spanish nation”. Therefore, according the conservative Rajoy, any attempt at dissolving it would need to be voted on by the Spanish parliament. 

However, the Catalan parliament passed two laws early last month: one ordering the referendum and the other declaring that, if the vote to leave Spain should win, regardless of the turnout, then an immediate unilateral declaration of independence will take place. 90% voted for independence from Spain, despite the government’s seizure of 10 million ballot papers, violence and intimidation and now the Catalan government has declared that “the State has tried to crack down on democracy”, suppressing the Catalonians’ evident desire for independence and autonomy.

Regardless of the merits of independence, we should all condemn the atrocities of the police in preventing the Catalonians from exercising their right to vote, and the unforgivable acts of brutality used to subjugate their own citizens.