Regardless of whether Catalonia has the right to secede from Spain; regardless of whether secession would be in the best interest of Catalonia; and regardless of whether secession might serve as encouragement for other areas of Spain to follow suit (the Basque region should come to mind immediately), the Spanish government has chosen to send a clear message that should be enough to encourage ANYONE that they should not want to be a part of Spain.
In Canada (1995) a similar secessionist movement conducted a separation referendum which would have seen Québec leave Canada to establish itself as a free-standing nation - and cleaving what would be left of Canada into two parts (Ontario-British Columbia to the west of Québec, New Brunswick-Newfoundland to the east). Many of Québec's grievances equate to those expressed by Catalonia but the whole process here - as bitter as the debate became - proceeded without violence.
[Aboriginal groups seized the moment to make clear to Québec and the rest of Canada that they considered themselves to be separate and distinct from both sides. That momentum has withered somewhat - Aboriginals should have pressed their case then and are now left in the position of trying to regroup as weakened supplicants, rather than as a strong force for change - 22 years later.]
Madrid should have allowed the Catalan vote to proceed unimpeded, and then pursued the matter through the courts. While it seems there was ample support for a separate Catalonia, the tactics the Spanish government pursued virtually ensured an overwhelming 'Yes' vote - Catalonians (and other people in Europe) got a nasty and brutish reminder that even though Franco continues to be dead, in some quarters his spirit lives on.
- prh, ed.]
Nearly 850 Injured in Catalonia Independence Referendum
Spanish riot police have violently clashed with people who had gathered for a banned referendum on the region's independence from Spain, injuring nearly 850 people.
According to the regional government, some 844 people have been injured in disturbances across Catalonia on Sunday.
Catalan representative Ramona Barrufet said that two people are in critical condition, one of whom is likely to not survive their injuries, reported RPP.
Shocking images and videos of police repression have been shared across social media platforms with users condemning the excessive use of force.
The hashtag #NoEnMiNombre, or Not In My Name, has been used to denounce the violence.
The president of Catalan, Carles Puigdemont, has also condemned the violence. "Today, the Spanish state has written a shameful page in its history with Catalonia," he said at a press conference.
In Madrid, people have gathered in the Plaza del Sol to show their solidarity with the people of Catalan.
Augusto Delkader, a political analyst who was at the march at the Plaza del Sol, said he was outraged by the response to the referendum.
"The actions of the police have been totally disproportionate. They explicitly violate the fundamental right to meet freely, to protest, to free speech, free association and political participation," Delkader told teleSUR.
"The Spanish government has only offered a violent and judicial response to what is a political problem," he added. "Lots of people gather in the Plaza de Sol in Madrid screaming loud and clear that Catalonia is not alone. The Plaza is filled with people against Rajoy's repression."
As Spanish police wielded batons and fired rubber bullets at crowds attempting to vote in Catalonia's banned independence referendum, the region's own police force gave many voters a much gentler reception.
In Catalonia's pro-independence heartland, among the farming towns of Osona county north of Barcelona, the Catalan force made little attempt to remove people from polling stations despite being tasked with the same court order to shut them down.
Local courts received several complaints on Sunday against the Catalan police accusing them of inactivity and failing to close polling stations, despite the court order, the region's High Court said in a statement.
Firemen in Catalonia also formed a human shield to protect protesters from the riot police.
Leaders from across the world have criticized the heavy-handed response to the referendum.
U.K. labor leader Jeremy Corbyn called the state violence, "shocking" and urged "the Spanish government must act to end it (violence) now."
Julian Assange also condemned the Spain's violent and repressive streak over its citizens, asking the president of the EU Commission to "suspend Spain from the European Union for its clear violation of Article 2."