Friday, 15 December 2017

Catalonia Attempts to Vote for Independence, Defying Spain

Spain

SPAIN: Catalonia, the restive northeastern region that is Spain’s economic powerhouse, is attempting to vote on Sunday in an independence referendum.

In defiance of Spanish authorities, thousands of Catalans turned out to vote early Sunday. Some had slept overnight at polling stations to make sure the police could not close them.

The central government in Madrid, with the support of Spanish courts, says the vote is unconstitutional and should be suspended. It is doing everything it can to prevent it from happening, including confiscating ballots, shutting down the internet, and threatening Catalan officials with arrest and prosecution.

The Catalans say that their distinct language, history and culture entitle them to nationhood, or at least to the chance to decide for themselves whether to break from Spain.


A polling officer opening a ballot box for counting in the Catalan independence referendum on Sunday in Barcelona.
Outside a polling station in Barcelona on Sunday night after voting ended. 
People celebrated the polls closed. 
Spanish police officers scuffled with Catalans attempting to vote on Sunday in Barcelona.
Demonstrators threw ballot papers. 
A man was injured by a rubber bullet fired by Spanish police officers outside the Ramon Llull polling station in Barcelona on Sunday. 
Pro-referendum supporters built a barricade to prevent police officers from entering the polling station at the Escola Industrial of Barcelona.
People held up four fingers representing the four stripes of the Catalan flag while waiting to vote in Barcelona on Sunday. 
Catalans voted at a school, Escola de la Concepcio, in Barcelona on Sunday. 
A man carried a ballot box into a polling station in Barcelona on Sunday. Catalans pushed ahead with a vote on independence in defiance of the Spanish authorities.
Farmers from around Catalonia demonstrated in Barcelona on Friday in support of the referendum and promised to help protect polling stations.
Activists pasting up pro-independence posters in Barcelona.
The Vedruna school in Barcelona, a designated polling station that has been occupied.
Waiting to vote in Barcelona on Sunday outside a school listed as a polling station by the Catalan government. 
Students provided information on how and where to vote from a stall outside the University of Barcelona.
People gathering at the Miquel Tarradell high school, designated as a polling station, to oppose any official attempt to prevent voting. 
A gathering outside a school in the Gràcia neighborhood of Barcelona on Saturday. 
The Catalan leader, Carles Puigdemont, center, during a demonstration on Friday to support the referendum. 
A demonstration in favor of a unified Spain in Madrid on Saturday. 
Some Catalan officials were arrested last week as part of a Spanish police operation intended to prevent the referendum. Pro-independence groups demonstrated in front of the Catalan High Court building in Barcelona to demand their release. 
Demonstrators clashed with the Spanish National Police last week after police officers from another national force, the Civil Guard, stormed several Catalan government offices. 
An anti-referendum protest in front of Catalan National Assembly in Barcelona last week. 
A march on Catalan National Day, Sept. 11, in Barcelona. 
Many Catalans say that their distinct language, history and culture entitle them to nationhood. 

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