BARCELONA, Spain- Catalonia’s defiant offer to supported a referendum on impartiality from Spain degenerated into ugly scenes of fraca on Sunday, with more than 800 people injured as riot police assaulted peaceful protesters and unarmed civilians gathered to cast their ballots in a vote the government had boycotted as unconstitutional. Thirty-three officers were also injured.
Hundreds of police forearmed with truncheons and rubber bullets were routed in from other regions to confiscate ballots and stop the voting, and amateur video pictured some police dragging beings out of polling stations by the “hairs-breadth”, hurling some down stairs, kicking them and pushing them to the field. Anguished, feared screams could be heard.
“What the police are doing is simply savage, ” said Jordi Turull, spokesman for the Catalan regional government, which backs impartiality. “It’s an international scandal.” He said Spain has already become “the shame of Europe” with its iron-fist tactics.
Police were acting on a judge’s tells to stop the referendum, which the Spanish government had declared illegal — and Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said moving forward with the vote only served to sows divisions.
In a televised address after the majority of members of tallies closed Sunday, he thanked the Spanish police, saying they had acted with “firmness and serenity” — statements sure to anger Catalonians.
Spanish Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis said the violence, while “unfortunate” and “unpleasant” was “proportionate.”
“If beings insist in disregarding the law and doing something that has been consistently declared illegal and unconstitutional, law enforcement officers need to uphold the law, ” Dastis told The Associated Press in an interview.
Speaking in Barcelona after surveys shut, Catalan regional director Carles Puigdemont said Catalonia had “won the right to become an independent state.”
“Today the Spanish regime wrote another shocking page in its own history with Catalonia, ” he said, adding that he would appeal to the European Union to look into alleged human rights violations during Sunday’s vote.
By day’s intent, Catalan’s health services said 844 beings had been treated in hospices for traumata, including 2 in serious malady and another person who was being treated for an attention hurt that are appropriate the specific characteristics of having beset by a rubber bullet.
No one knows precisely what will happen if Catalan officials use the vote — chaotic as it was — as a basis for proclaiming the northeastern region independent, a racy move that would threaten Spain with the possible loss of one of its more prosperous regions, including the popular coastal metropoli of Barcelona, the different regions uppercase. It was also inconclusive how many of the region’s 5.3 million eligible voters were able to cast ballots, how their votes would be counted and how many votes had been expropriated by police.
Catalans favoring a break with Spain have all along been required more than the limited autonomy they now enjoy, arguing that they are participating far more than they receive from the central government, which insures key areas including taxation and infrastructure. The police aggressivenes on Sunday was likely to fuel the passion for independence.
Officials planning the police operation may have failed to take into account the ubiquitous usage of smart telephones with video recorders as violent idols were broadcast across the world.
At the Pau Claris School in Barcelona, amateur footage filmed by one voter depicted police roughing up unarmed parties standing in their channel. Amateur video from other locations depicted similar tactics, with people assured being hit, kicked and propelled around by police, including elderly people with their hounds, young girls and regular citizens of all stripes. Many tried to shield themselves from being smack-dab on the head.
There were also some signs of insult by organizers. In footage released by the Spanish Interior Ministry, some protesters were learnt propelling objectives and metal barriers at riot police.
Elisa Arouca, who was waiting to vote outside the Estel School in center Barcelona, reacted with wrath when national police negotiators yanked her and other prospective voters out of the channel, then crushed the door open and confiscated the ballot boxes.
She had been planning to vote in favor of retaining Catalonia part of Spain, but decided instead to affiliate the rally for objectivity. She moved to another polling station to try and gave her vote in favor of breaking away.
“I was always against liberty, but what the Spanish district is do is acquiring me change my mind, ” she said. “The national police and civilian sentry are considering us like criminals.”
A member of the Israeli parliament, mailed in as election observers of the vote, said she was offended by the use of rubber missiles by Spanish police against horde of unarmed voters.
“We did expect a ordinary democratic process, ” said Ksenia Svetlova, part of a delegation of thirty parties invited by Catalan officials to observe the voting process. “We was well known that a great deal of police were here but still, you know, there should be a respect for the wishes of the people to referendum irrespective of what you think of the referendum.”
Tensions were operating so high that Barcelona dallied its soccer game against Las Palmas without fans after the team announced the join would be played behind closed doors shortly before kickoff, with millions of soccer supporters already outside the stadium. Barcelona wanted to postpone the game but said the Spanish league rejected the request.
Manuel Condeminas, a 48 -year-old IT manager who tried to obstruct police from driving away with ballot box on Sunday, said police had kicked him and others before using their wands and burning the rubber bullets.
Elsewhere, civil lookout detectives, wearing helmets and carrying shields, applied a hammer to break the glass of the front doorway and a fasten cutter to break into the Sant Julia de Ramis athletics hub near the town of Girona that was being used as a polling station. At least one gal was disabled outside the building, wheeled apart on a stretcher by paramedics.
Clashes broke out less than an hour after tallies opened, and not long before Puigdemont, the Catalonia regional president, was expected to turn up to vote at the athletics core. Polling depot laborers greeted peacefully and breaks out into lyrics and melodies provoking the officers’ presence.
Puigdemont was forced to vote in Cornella de Terri, near the northern municipality of Girona, his spokesman said.
Police had sealed off numerous voting middles in the hours before the voting rights to thwarted their implement. Others were fitted with partisans determined to hold their ground.
Spanish riot police forcefully removed a few hundred would-be voters from a polling station at local schools in Barcelona. The scene was recited at other locations, although voting was amicable in some spots.
Daniel Riano, 54, was inside when the police pushed aside a large radical amassed outside a polling station at the Estel School in downtown Barcelona and busted in the door.
“We were waiting inside to vote when the National Police used force to enter, they used a mace to break in the glass door and they took everything, ” he said. “One policeman introduced me in a headlock to drag me out while I was impounding my wife’s side! It was stupendous. They didn’t open any warning.”