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Catalonia’s landslide ‘yes’ vote came at a price with nearly 1000 injured

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Catalonias landslide yes vote came at a price with nearly 1000 injured

Reports from Catalonia in Spain indicate a landslide victory for the separatists who want the state in the northeast region to declare independence. The vote, which was declared illegal and unconstitutional by the Spanish government, was marred by violence as police in riot gear used extreme measures to block and disband voters. At least 844 citizens were injured along with 33 police officers.

Over 2.2 million of the 5.3 million registered voters in Catalonia braved the attacks from police to cast their votes. The regional government declared a 9-1 margin in favor of independence. Catalan President Carles Puigemont had pledged earlier to follow through with the will of the people and declare independence from Spain if the voters approved.

The response from Spanish officials has been denial. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy declared that there was no independence vote today in Catalonia.

“Today, we have not had a referendum for self-determination in Catalonia,” Rajoy said during a televised address. “Today, all the Spaniards have seen that our state rule of law keeps its strength and reality, and restricts those who wish to subvert the state of law, and acts with all the legal resources, vis a vis all provocations, and does it with efficacy and in a serene way.”

Background

As an American, it’s difficult to imagine things coming to this point in a western nation. The violence, shared to the world through social media, seems unfathomable in 2017 in a democratic nation such as Spain. What makes the Catalonia-Spain situation peculiar is the distinct difference between the people. The culture, history, and even language in Catalonia is distinct. They’ve enjoyed varying degrees of autonomy since 1931. Clashes with Spain and changes to law have been on-again, off-again ever since.

The tipping point that brought us to where we are today started with the 2006 Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia. It was quickly ratified by Catalan voters and approved by the Spanish parliament, but was challenged by the center-right Popular Party before the Constitutional Court. Over the next four years, it was debated before they released their decision. Most outsiders viewed the changes they required as minor; 14 of the 223 articles were struck down and another 27 were curtailed. However, the Catalans were not pleased by it. Seeds were immediately planted to yield what we witnessed this weekend.

Opinion

The rule of law of a sovereign nation should be respected by outsiders, particularly when it comes from a democratically elected government. However, the modern age has given us a deeper glimpse at what happens around the world. As such, images and videos from the vote will make it very challenging for Spain to avoid international pressure.

This isn’t a situation familiar to Americans. This isn’t like Texas wanting to be an independent country. Catalan provides 1/5th of the Spanish government’s revenue. On the other hand, the differences between Catalans and Spaniards are far greater than the differences between Texans and other Americans.

Catalans overwhelmingly want out. The Spanish government and economy would have to be torn asunder and rebuilt if Catalonia becomes a fully-independent nation. The stakes are high for both sides. Semi-autonomy has served Catalonia well but their grievances cannot be overlooked.

Check out perspectives from around the internet, then scroll down further for social media reactions, including tons of videos and images. I’ll leave my final thoughts at the bottom.

Perspectives

Spain’s prime minister Mariano Rajoy said there was no independence vote in Catalonia

http://www.independent.ie/world-news/europe/spains-prime-minister-mariano-rajoy-said-there-was-no-independence-vote-in-catalonia-36186409.htmlIn the press conference, he blamed unrest on the Catalan government and called the referendum “a process that has only served to sow division, to confront citizens and to provoke unwanted situations”.

Hundreds Injured as Spanish Police Clash with Defiant Voters in Catalonia

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/catalonia-independence-poll-spanish-police-scuffle-defiant-voters-n806291“My government, in the next few days will send the results of today’s vote to the Catalan Parliament, where the sovereignty of our people lies, so that it can act in accordance with the law of the referendum,” he added.

Catalan referendum: Catalonia has ‘won right to statehood’ – BBC News

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-41463719Large crowds of independence supporters gathered in the centre of the regional capital Barcelona on Sunday evening, waving flags and singing the Catalan anthem. Anti-independence protesters have also held rallies in Barcelona and other Spanish cities.

Catalonia firefighters form human shield to protect referendum voters from riot police | The Independent

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/catalonia-independence-referendum-vote-protests-barcelona-madrid-police-guardia-civil-a7976556.htmlHundreds of voters were also forcefully removed from polling stations with violent clashes breaking out in Barcelona and near the city of Girona.

Reactions

Final Thoughts

The last thing we need to do at this point is get involved at all. Spain is a sovereign nation. Catalanio may or may not become a sovereign nation. These videos are compelling and often heartbreaking, but this isn’t America’s concern. American citizens can and probably should voice our opinions, but DC needs to stay out of it. Let Spain and the EU handle it. The U.S. government must avoid this, even on Twitter (looking at you, Mr. President).

Christian, husband, father. EIC, NOQ Report. Co-Founder, the Federalist Party. Just a normal guy who will no longer sit around while the country heads in the wrong direction.

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