Spain and what is going on in Catalonia
Catalonia in Spain today 1st October 2017 is holding a Referendum to break away from the rest of Spain and become an independent country in its own right. As I write we are seeing pictures of Catalonia people with horrible wounds as the Spanish Government send in the national police to stop people voting for their independence
This one account of what is going on from Jesús López Rodríguez
We were in the street from 5am. Hundreds of us were waiting to vote peacefully. The ballot boxes came at about 7.30am. Around eight o’clock, we saw seven national police vans. Half an hour later, the police came in riot gear with shields and helmets. The told us that the Catalan high court had ordered them to take the ballot boxes and they told us that we needed to disperse. We said, ‘No! No1 No!’. Then about 20 police officers charged us. It was short — about two minutes — and we stayed together. I heard the chief officer telling them to retreat. But they just stopped and stayed there for about 15 minutes. Then eight or nine national vans came and they cordoned off the surrounding streets. We were pushing back and forth until they started to arrest people. They dragged people out violently. We stood our ground but they dragged people away, kicking them and throwing them to the ground … Lots more police came — maybe 100 or more. When they saw they couldn’t get into the main building, they jumped over the fence and went in. They came out with ballot boxed 10 minutes later and they broke down the doors [of the school] with axes. They left with the ballot boxes. There were a lot of police but we stayed there trying to vote. We looked around for other places to vote and then we came back Half an hour later, we saw lots of police vans on Gran Vía. Then, at about 10.25am, they started to shoot rubber bullets — at least 30 or 40. People were running away, scared and totally defenceless. I ran towards the shots but my wife pulled me back. I was down there for a lot of hours this morning and I didn’t hear one insult [towards the police] … I feel really angry about it but I also hope that people in Europe and around the world see what’s happening in Catalonia.
Another account from 19 year Martí Pont,
I was there last night and there were a couple of dozen people but when I went back at 5.30am there were maybe 300. The Mossos came, saw how many people there were, and left. A couple of hours later the ballot boxes arrived and we all started applauding. It was raining heavily. Then seven vanloads of Policia Nacional arrived. We all gathered around the front door and kept calm. There were some elderly people but no kids. Then 15 police in body armour and five more wearing balaclavas arrived. They started pushing us with their shields and throwing us aside but there were too many of us. Then more and more vanloads arrived from all sides.
They started pushing through and pulling people out. Then they broke in through another door and took away the ballot boxes and voting papers. Right then people didn’t know what to do because there were police in front and behind. They started dragging us out, often by the throat. Lots of women were dragged out by the hair. Then we saw them put the ballot boxes in a Seat, an ordinary car. We sat down in front of and behind their vans so they couldn’t leave. They took out their truncheons and began separating us. We went down carrer Marina, blocking them street by street. They started hitting us with truncheons but didn’t use their guns. We met up with another group and the police warned journalists to go away. They ran off and the police started firing rubber bullets. This was at the junction of Diputació and Sardenya. Everyone who could, fled, but others got hit, in the back and the knee. Everyone went off to find somewhere else to vote.
Another account of what is going on
‘It is frightening. We are living in a world where human rights are being ignored’
What is happening at the moment is a mini revolution — the Catalans
want a referendum and right now we are waiting for Guardias to arrive as that is what has been happening elsewhere. Old people have been attacked … We are doing what we want to do which is just vote.
It has not been violent where we are but what we are hearing and
seeing [is worrying]. Last night, I was outside the square eating sausages we cooked on the BBQ and talking about what tomorrow means and now we are talking about what Monday means and Tuesday. It is frightening. We are living in a world where human rights are being ignored. I think Catalonia deserves to be listened to.
If the rest of the world does not put its arms up and prevent the Spanish government from attacking peaceful demonstrators, then that is worrying.
I have got children with me at the moment. They know what is going on and they can feel this tension — it’s just not nice. You bring children up to be peaceful and seeing the establishment carry old ladies off. It would be great if everything news-wise shows what is really happenings.
Fiona Williamson, 44, from Barcelona
Can this be happening in a Modern Democratic Spain? Sadly it is because Spain is not actualy a Democratic country but a Fascist country just like it was under Franco.
Spain likes the world to think they have put the ghost of Franco to bed. What we are seeing is the Government of Spain making the ghost of Franco proud as all the photos show