Rabat - The Spanish region of Catalonia seems determined to go ahead with independence plans despite the crackdown from Madrid.
Rabat – The Spanish region of Catalonia seems determined to go ahead with independence plans despite the crackdown from Madrid.
The northern region’s premier, Carles Puigdemont, said late on Sunday that his government will declare independence in the coming days.
Despite a violent intervention from the National Police and the Guardia Civil on Sunday to prevent citizens from voting in the independence referendum and and seize ballot boxes, results of the vote were announced.
Preliminary figures show a massive support for independence as around 90% of citizens declared in favor of separation from Spain.
— Andrew Thom (@thomthegolfer) 1 octobre 2017
The vote was marked with a relatively low turnout with only 42% of eligible voters casting their votes. According to the local government, 2,262,424 out of a total voter pool of 5,343,358 took part in the referendum.
It is not clear if this is mainly due to police intervention in an attempt to stop the referendum.
Puigdemont said that his government will transmit the vote’s result to the Catalan parliament to “act in accordance with the referendum laws.”
The Catalan premier had a word to say about the crackdown, slamming what he called police “brutality” and “repression”.
He urged the European Union not to stay silent about what is taking place in Catalonia.
Today will go down in history, by 2 opposed images: 1-Catalans voting for their future ??? 2-The brutality of the Spanish Government ?????? pic.twitter.com/khnCUldZex
— Jon Inarritu (@JonInarritu) 1 octobre 2017
The use of violence against voters increased the tension between Catalonia and the central government. Catalans claim their right to vote as a democratic exercise. Madrid maintains that the vote is illegal as was previously declared by the country’s supreme court.
On Sunday, pictures and videos of Spanish security elements beating, pushing and firing tear gas and rubber bullets at pro-referendum protesters, causing several injuries among them, came as a shock in Spain and elsewhere.
The scenes were described as “unprecedented” in the country’s history. Yet, the Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy defended security forces, saying they acted so that the law prevails.
“We did what we had to do”, he said in a speech to the nation on Sunday night.
Rajoy is facing one of the toughest challenges in his political career as Spain’s PM. The leader of the Popular Party was heavily criticized by Pablo Iglesias, the Secretary General of the left-wing party Podemos.
Iglesias said the Popular Party must step down from government, calling for a negotiated solution to the ongoing crisis in Catalonia.