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The Guardian: Catalan government: '465 injured by Spanish police violence' during referendum


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https://www.theguardian.com/world/live/2017/oct/01/catalan-independence-referendum-spain-catalonia-vote-live
 

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Catalan government: '465 injured by Spanish police violence' during referendum

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According to the Catalan health ministry, 465 people have been injured as Catalans vote in an “illegal” referendum on the region’s independence. The two most seriously injured are in hospitals in Barcelona.


Although advocates stressed the right to political self-determination, the vote was banned by Spain’s constitutional court and millions of ballot papers were confiscated before the vote.
Local and national authorities say 336 voting centres, of more than 2,000, across the region have been closed by police.


Voting has been marred by a brutal police crackdown. Videos show police hitting people in the crowd with batons while voters hold up their hands, police dragging voters from polling stations by their hair, and Spanish police attacking Catalan firefighters.


The police action has been mostly confined to Barcelona, the Catalonian capital. There has been no police presence in the majority of voting stations throughout the region.
Polls have shown 70% of Catalans want to be able to vote in a referendum but they are more evenly divided when it comes to independence.


There have been several calls for the Spanish prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, to resign over the police response from Catalan politicians and opposition MPs.


Human Rights Watch has released a statement calling on Spanish authorities to respect citizens’ right to peaceful assembly and refrain from using excessive force.


The Labour party has condemned the police violence. Emily Thornberry, the shadow foreign secretary, said: “It is unacceptable for the Spanish authorities to overreact to today’s events through aggressive police action and the forcible closure of polling stations.”


The European Union is yet to make an official comment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hard to get good participation when you have police attacking polling stations and confiscating and suppressing voters and votes.  

 

(Not to say that the vote was a good idea or legal, of course)

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Why would anti-independence Catalonians vote in an illegal referendum?

 

 

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The pro-independence bloc, which enjoys a wafer-thin majority, rode roughshod over Catalonia’s parliamentary rules and the rights of opposition MPs. The two pieces of legislation were rushed through in a late-night session against the warnings of the legal attorneys of the Catalan Parliament and ignoring the request of opposition MPs for an opinion of the Council of Statutory Guarantees, to which they are entitled under Catalan law.

As a result the opposition bloc (made up of Socialists, liberal Ciudadanos, the People's Party and some members of the leftist Catalunya Sí Que Es Pot) left the session in protest and took no part in the vote. The Spanish Constitutional Court suspended the legislation, but the ruling forces in Catalonia have vowed to ignore its rulings, and pushed forward nonetheless. Indeed, they have announced that they will declare independence whether the Spanish Government allows for such a vote or not, effectively making the referendum a plebiscite on a decision already taken by a ruling majority.

All of this amounts to a clear violation of the rules set forth by the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission, which requires, amongst other conditions, an equal opportunity process, a neutral administration, and legislation of at least statutory rank passed at least one year in advance of a referendum.  The EU invests millions of euros in strengthening parliamentary democracy in acceding or partner countries in order to avoid exactly the same abuse witnessed in the Catalan Parliament earlier this month. Yet it resorts to naming and shaming, and withdraws assistance, when these standards are so grossly breached in Europe itself.

 

 

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On 10/1/2017 at 1:06 PM, Elessar78 said:

Thought experiment: how would various administrations respond if California wanted Independence. I think they are the worlds fifth largest economy.

I don't think there s a provision in the Constitution that permits California to vote on independence. So my guess is that a secession attempt would be met with a swift response from the federal government.

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