Catalonia Closes Ranks As Outrage Over Crackdown Grows

Spain’s increasingly public crackdown on the planned October 1 secession referendum in Catalonia appears to be bringing the population of the northeastern region together. Reports say that the social indignation toward police action is spreading far from just the pro-secession crowd.

Spain’s Constitutional Court forbade the referendum, and national police have been out in growing force trying to undermine the lead-up to the vote. Still, there’s little sign they’re going to be able to prevent the vote outright, and mostly they’re just angering everybody in the region.

If anything, there’s some speculation that Spain’s crackdown is likely to sway the outcome more in favor of secession, as the pro-secession crowd is more mobilized than ever, and resentment is soaring. Polls had previously shown Catalonia widely split on the issue.

With 10 days left to the vote, there’s a lot of time for the situation to continue to escalate, with thousands of Catalan demonstrators in the streets, and thousands more police arriving on ferries in Barcelona.

Leaders of the region say the referendum will take place irrespective of moves against them. In the meantime, however, talk of a general strike is mounting, and prosecutors are threatening sedition charges for the pro-secession movement.

Top photo | People shout slogans during a protest in Barcelona, Spain, Sept. 21, 2017. Thousands have gathered at the gates of Catalonia’s judiciary body in Barcelona to demand the release of a dozen officials arrested in connection with a vote on independence that Spanish central authorities are challenging as illegal. (AP/Manu Fernandez)


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