Sunday was a day to remember, a remarkable display of people power, overwhelmingly choosing independence from despotic Madrid governance by a resounding 90% majority – despite state-sponsored violence unleashed against them.
Catalonia’s government said “(o)ut of the 2,262,424 ballots that were not seized, 2,020,144 were YES votes, 176,566 were NO votes, 45,586 in blank and 20,129 null votes.”
Police attired like combat troops, imported from other parts of Spain, turned Barcelona and other areas into battlegrounds – a futile attempt to prevent Catalans from exercising their right to vote, the UN Charter and other international law affirming their right of self-determination, the right of all people everywhere.
Nearly 900 people were injured, some seriously, the final tally perhaps higher. Police used rubber-coated steel bullets, brutal beatings with batons, and other forms of state-sponsored violence – viciousness on display for the whole world to see.
Late Sunday, Catalan President Carles Puigdemont said “(t)oday the Spanish state wrote another shameful page in its history with Catalonia. With this day of hope and suffering, the citizens of Catalonia have won the right to an independent state in the form a republic.”
Washington, Britain and Brussels failed to condemn Sunday’s violence. Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union states:
“The EU’s founding values are human dignity, freedom, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities.”
Yet EU leaders were largely silent, ignoring Madrid-ordered police state viciousness in Catalonia. Trump’s tweets ignored it.
Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel was an exception, saying “violence can never be the answer! We condemn all forms of violence and reaffirm our call for political dialogue.”
UK Lib Dem leader Vince Cable tweeted: “Police in a democracy should never drag people violently out of polling stations, whatever the arguments for or against holding a referendum.”
On national television, Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy defiantly said “(t)oday we have not had a referendum for self-determination in Catalonia,” claiming Catalans were tricked into voting on Sunday, calling the vote a “path that leads to nowhere.”
He praised Spanish police for acting with “firmness and serenity.” Disturbing images showed otherwise, including people forcibly dragged from polling stations and women thrown down stairs, an outrageous display of state-sponsored violence.
Catalan Vice President Oriol Junqueras said “(w)e will be consistent with the democratic mandate that citizens have given us today. Catalonia has won its right to be a new republic if this is what the Parliament decides.”
Despite forced closure of polling stations and numerous ballot boxes seized, votes counted showed a remarkable 42.3% turnout – perhaps double this figure if ballots unable to be counted were included.
Hundreds of thousands were prevented from exercising their democratic franchise – revealing the true character of despotic Madrid governance.
Despite all-out efforts to prevent Sunday’s process, Catalans turned out en masse, courageously voting for independence from fascist Spain.
It’s the duty of their parliament to respect their choice.