The National Police and the Civil Guard have failed to prevent more than 2 million Catalans from voting in the Catalan referendum, despite breaking into dozens of polling stations by force and violence, causing 844 injuries. As announced by the Government, the “yes” to independence has obtained 90% of the votes.
Specifically, the Generalitat has counted 2,262,424 “not requisitioned” ballots, to which would be added another 770,000 that have been seized by the Security Forces, and therefore could not be counted.
Of the 2,262,424 votes cast and counted, the ‘yes’ has won with 2,020,144 ballots (90%), followed by the ‘no’ 176,566 (7.8%), 45,586 blank votes (2%) and 20,129 null (0.89%), in the absence of some 15,000 votes to be counted.
Taking into account the census of 5,313,000 people and the 2,262,424 ballots, participation would be 42%, although the Government has not offered a specific percentage because it has stressed that there have been “stolen votes” and ballot boxes withdrawn. The Minister of the Presidency, Jordi Turull, has considered that without this “exceptional situation” 55% would have been reached of participation.
According to article 4.4 of the referendum law, approved by the Parliament and suspended by the Constitutional Court, with the ‘yes’ to independence as the winning option, the Parliament, “within two days following the announcement of the results”, will hold an ordinary session to make the declaration formal independence of Catalonia.
Police charges and long lines to vote
The images of people of all ages queuing to vote have contrasted with the harshness of the police charges. At least 844 people have been injured, two of them serious, as a result of these actions.
According to data from the Generalitat, the Security Forces have managed to close down just over 300 of the 2,315 places authorized to vote. In turn, in each school, hundreds of people have waged peaceful resistance to prevent the access of the agents and the seizure of the ballot boxes and electoral material.
The Mossos d’Esquadra, which have closed 160 polling stations, have also been criticized by state authorities, as they have refused to use force to prevent voting, which has made it easier for many voting points to remain open. There have even been moments of tension and discussions between mossos and civil guards due to loads. At least six Catalan courts have opened proceedings against the Catalan Autonomous Police for alleged disobedience when accusing them of allowing the referendum.
The police charges, which have raised criticism in the international communitywill be investigated by the examining court number 7 of Barcelona, which has decided to open proceedings after receiving a complaint from the Generalitat.
Firefighters acting as human shields to protect voters, tractors blocking the way of police vehicles, mossos crying, agents breaking doors and windows to enter polling stations and police and civil guards retreating before protesters who impeded their passage were other images of the day.
The voting format has also been atypical: the Generalitat has established a “universal census“to be able to vote at any polling station, and the possibility of voting without an envelope and with ballots printed at home has been given. It has even been voted on the street at some points. In addition, the Security Forces have blocked the computer system voting, which has made the count difficult and lengthened.
The sports hall of Sant Julià de Ramis (Girona), where the president of the Generalitat, Carles Puigdemont, had planned to vote, has been one of the most problematic scenarios in these first hours.
Half a hundred policemen and civil guards entered the pavilion at around 9:15 am to requisition the ballot boxes and voting material. More than a hundred people who were concentrated outside the pavilion have tried to prevent entering the school, at which point the agents intervened and several of the concentrates fell to the ground.
Puigdemont validates the 1-O
Once the polling stations are closed, and before the results of the referendum are known, Carles Puigdemont, has declared 1-O valid and has announced that it will transfer the result to the Parliament so that the referendum law is applied, that is, independence in 48 hours if the ‘yes’ wins, or the call for elections if it wins the ‘no’.
In an institutional statement from the Palau de la Generalitat surrounded by all the councilors of the Government, Puigdemont highlighted that Catalonia has “managed to hold the referendum that the State has tried so hard to prevent” and has made a “direct appeal” to the Union European to that, faced with the “intransigence and repression” of the State, it assumes that the Catalan question “is no longer an internal matter” of Spain but a “matter of European interest”. In addition, he has denounced the “serious police violence” during 1-O.
The president has called an extraordinary meeting of the Executive Council for 10:30 am this Monday at the Palau de la Generalitat.
Rajoy will summon all the parties
For his part, the President of the Spanish Government, Mariano Rajoy, has announced that it will summon the political parties with parliamentary representation to “reflect on the future” that must be “faced together, and this Monday it will request to appear in the Congress of Deputies.
In an institutional statement without questions at the Palacio de la Moncloa accompanied by several ministers and secretaries of State, Rajoy stressed that as of Monday, “the reestablishment of institutional normality” must begin.
Regarding police violence, he pointed out that those responsible for what happened in Catalonia are “solely and exclusively” those who “have promoted the violation of legality and the breakdown of coexistence.”
Anti-riot agents of the National Police act to prevent the vote. Photo: EFE
General strike on 3-O
In this context, the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and Òmnium Cultural have called on Catalan citizens to join a call by the Taula per la Democràcia, which brings together sovereign entities and unions such as UGT and CCOO, to carry out a general strike on October 3.
In an intervention before hundreds of people concentrated in the Plaza de Catalunya in Barcelona, the president of Òmnium, Jordi Cuixart, described the experience in Catalonia as a “historic day”: “Today everything begins. Today we know that the people of Catalonia have expressed at the ballot box against a State that has used all the repressive machinery so that you could not do it. “
In his speech, he urged Puigdemont to reaffirm his commitment because “momentous moments are coming for the history of this country.” “We hope that the Government will allow us to see the defense of the birth of a new Catalan republic soon,” he said.
Casseroles in the Basque Country
During the night from Sunday to Monday, hundreds of people have gone out to the street in different Basque towns to protest against police violence with a pot.
– Asier Sánchez (@Asiersangar) October 1, 2017
– Xabier Madariaga (@XMadariagaI) October 1, 2017
And in Portugalete pic.twitter.com/dBd1bEIroP
– Iñaki Regidor (@Inaki_Regidor) October 1, 2017
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.