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Spanish Police Ordered To Stop “Illegal” Catalonia Independence Referendum

Spanish Police Ordered To Stop “Illegal” Catalonia Independence Referendum

“Rajoy has sent thousands of troops in to stop it from happening.”

After their successful parliamentary elections in 2015, Catalonia votes Sunday on independence from Spain. Madrid is decidedly not happy and has sent police to seize voting boxes and to arrest pro-independence officials. There are also reports of clashes between police sent to stop the “illegal” Catalonia Independence referendum and Catalans eager for independence.

The Washington Post reports:

When Catalans go to the polls on Sunday, they’ll find just one question on the ballot: “Do you want Catalonia to become an independent state in the form of a republic?”

. . . . Catalonia is the richest region in Spain, and the most highly industrialized too. It houses many of Spain’s metalworking, food-processing, pharmaceutical and chemical industries. It also boasts a booming tourism industry, thanks to popular spots like Barcelona. The region makes up about 16 percent of Spain’s population and accounts for 20 percent of the Spanish national economy.

Catalans often complain that they contribute more in taxes to the Spanish government than they get back. In 2014, Catalonia paid about $11.8 billion more to Spain’s tax authorities than they got back. But as the BBC explains, “the complexity of budget transfers makes it hard to judge exactly how much more Catalans contribute in taxes than they get back from investment in services such as schools and hospitals.”

Historical background on Catalonia independence can be found here.

Catalan youth marched yesterday for independence.

The Spanish Prime Minister has called the vote illegal and insisted that it “won’t happen.” To that end, Spanish police have been deployed to stop the election by taking voting boxes and blocking, even tackling, Catalans to keep them from voting.

The Independent reports that Catalonia’s firefighters placed themselves between the Spanish riot police and Catalan civilians.

The Washington Post continues:

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has condemned the vote as illegal. “I say this both calmly and firmly: There will be no referendum, it won’t happen,” he said. He and others have argued that the vote would undermine the rule of law, and that it could set a dangerous precedent.

Rajoy has sent thousands of troops in to stop it from happening. (They are living, at the moment, in cruise ships off the Catalan coast.) Spanish police have seized millions of ballot forms and arrested more than a dozen pro-independence officials. Websites informing Catalans about the election have been shuttered.

. . . . Despite the Spanish government’s best efforts, voting will likely take place, at least in some places. Parents are camped out at schools to ensure that they can be opened for voting. (“We will stay until Sunday,” one woman told the New York Times. “On Sunday, we will resist entirely.”) An app has been devised to help voters find polling stations.

Watch the report:



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Coming to California. Get ready for it.

Catalonia actually generates revenue and is capable of supporting itself without government aid. California no so much.

Subotai Bahadur | October 1, 2017 at 5:38 pm

Noting that the Spanish government has the right and duty to try to preserve itself intact, this has every appearance of being a world class squirrel screw. When the first reaction to what gives every appearance of being an attempt to vote for a course of action [and that vote likely would have lost] is functionally a hostile, armed, foreign invasion [Catalans consider themselves ethnically distinct] and attacks against unarmed civilians . . . . let us say that the odds of the vote losing just changed drastically. Pictures of old women being threatened and beaten by the Guardia Civil, and if firemen putting their bodies on the line to protect civilians [everybody likes firemen] . . . the government is turning this into a long term problem that is going to get very untidy.

It could have been handled from Madrid’s point of view less kinetically.

    Tom Servo in reply to Subotai Bahadur. | October 1, 2017 at 10:09 pm



    Noting that the Spanish government has the right and duty to try to preserve itself intact,

    No, it does not. What gives it that right? What gives it the right to forcibly prevent people from expressing their opinion? Their right to do so is absolute, regardless of the outcome. The government’s duty is to protect its people’s civil liberties, and to let whatever results happen.

    Can you imagine such a thing happening in the US? It couldn’t. The first amendment would absolutely protect the organizers’ right to hold the vote and the people’s right to participate in it, and any order from the president to shut it down would be disobeyed. anyone who obeyed such an order would be arrested and convicted, and also sued personally by anyone he harmed.

      kermitrulez in reply to Milhouse. | October 2, 2017 at 1:10 pm

      Could you please cite any case that establishes that the First Amendment protects the right to vote? Not a lawyer and voting being speech is a position that I hadn’t neither heard nor considered. I can’t seem to find anything in very limited research so I was hoping you could direct me to it.

        Milhouse in reply to kermitrulez. | October 3, 2017 at 5:17 am

        What is voting but an expression of opinion? It’s the purest form of speech there is! How could you imagine it’s not protected?

The Catalan, Basque, and Galician regions are Spain are distinct, with their own languages. Basque Eskaudi and Catalonia have been agitating for independence pretty much since the Romans called the whole peninsula Hispania. And both could make a go of it, at least in theory; Eskaudi is Spain’s industrial region, and Catalonia has a very strong craftsmanship and art tradition as well as some of the best European vacation spots. So both have sound economic bases and solid positions in export markets. But no matter, Spain has always resisted independence, and is not likely to change now.

This would be a secession vote, and would be pointless, as there is no mechanism for secession short of civil war.

    Milhouse in reply to tom swift. | October 2, 2017 at 5:41 am

    Sure there is. Catalonia declares itself independent, and Spain does nothing. There’s no reason Spain has to fight.