Police Force Way Into Polling Station Where Catalan Leader Was To Vote

by Jal Pari
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Girona, Spain:  Spanish police in riot gear seized poll containers and surrounded activist-held polling stations in Catalonia at present as 1000’s flooded the streets to vote in an independence referendum banned by Madrid.Because the vote formally opened, scenes of chaos erupted as police started transferring in to stop individuals from casting their ballots, forcing their method into one sports activities centre within the city of Girona the place the area’s separatist chief was resulting from vote.

The drama unfolded after an evening of rigidity wherein 1000’s of individuals, each nervous and excited, had gathered outdoors polling stations earlier than daybreak to vote, with police below orders to stop the poll from taking place.

“Votarem, votarem!” — Catalan for “We are going to vote!” — chanted the crowds, many with their palms within the air.

Because the rain poured down in Barcelona, college students and activists who had spent the evening in faculties designated as polling stations gathered outdoors with locals to “defend” the vote from police as vehicles drove by honking their horns in help.

Catalan tv broadcast footage of crowds in cities and villages throughout area, whose separatist authorities stated early Sunday the referendum would go forward as deliberate.

Though the area is split over independence, most individuals need to vote on the matter in authorized, binding plebiscite.”The federal government at present is able to affirm that we will rejoice the referendum of self-determination — not as we wished, however (it’ll have democratic) ensures,” Catalan authorities spokesman Jordi Turull advised a information convention.

Poll containers hidden

However the inside ministry stated it had began seizing poll containers, including police have been “persevering with to deploy in Catalonia” to cease the referendum.

Spain’s central authorities is staunchly towards the vote, which has been dominated unconstitutional by the courts, and has vowed to cease it from going down.

On orders of judges and prosecutors, police have seized poll papers, detained key organisers and shut down web sites selling the vote.

However on the streets early Sunday, voters have been decided to be heard.

“Right this moment is a historic day for us, it is terrific,” Maria Rosa Pi-Sunyer Arguimbau, 55, stated after a person carrying a poll field jumped out of a automotive and ran to the door, depositing it inside as two cops seemed on throughout the road.

The poll containers have been on the centre of consideration in the course of the referendum disaster, with many questioning precisely the place they have been hidden and the way they’d be delivered to polling stations, as police have been ordered to grab any materials associated to the referendum.

However as individuals crowded in entrance of polling stations, they began to reach, carried in by people. It was as but unclear the place they got here from.

Occupied faculties

The deliberate referendum has sown divisions amongst Catalans and stoked passions additional afield in Spain.

No matter occurs, Sunday’s referendum outcome won’t be recognised by Madrid, and nearly definitely not by the worldwide group.

However separatist leaders are banking on a excessive turnout to present legitimacy to their vote.

Spain’s inside ministry stated Saturday police had closed a lot of the 2,315 polling stations throughout Catalonia.

However dozens have been occupied by academics, mother and father, college students and activists decided to let individuals in anyway.

Some faculties designated as polling stations imagined progressive methods to remain open, organising leisure actions all around the weekend, from youngsters’ pyjama events to volleyball video games.

A regional authorities supply stated voting may additionally happen elsewhere like well being centres and even retirement properties.

Farmers and firefighters have additionally pledged to guard polling stations.

Unity protests

Earlier this week, the Mossos d’Esquadra Catalan police warned concerning the danger of “disruption of public order” if individuals have been prevented from casting ballots.

Ignacio Sellares, a 56-year-old tax guide at a polling station in Barcelona stated he wasn’t scared.

“Having stated that, if police include weapons and water cannons, I am getting out of right here quick!”.

Madrid has despatched 1000’s of additional cops from different forces to Catalonia to cease the referendum from taking place.

On Saturday, Catalan chief Carles Puigdemont known as on these going to vote to keep up a “peaceable perspective”.

That very same day, 1000’s took to the streets throughout the nation — together with in Barcelona — in favour of nationwide unity.

In addition to being crucial of Puigdemont, some protesters additionally faulted Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s conservative authorities for limiting its response to the disaster to repeating that the referendum is unconstitutional.

“The state wants to elucidate the advantages of remaining united, as an alternative of repeating on a regular basis that the referendum is illegitimate,” stated Rafael Castillo, a 59-year-old engineer at a Madrid rally, carrying a shawl with the Spanish flag round his neck.


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