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Thousands march in support of referendum vote

The student-organized rally also stood in condemnation of violent police actions on Sunday

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02 October 2017 09:29 PM

by

ACN | Rachel Bathgate

Thousands of people demonstrating in the streets of Barcelona – students, families, the elderly, children. Yet, moments of complete silence. The goal, according to organizers, of those who marched was to defend the results of the independence referendum held yesterday, and to work towards the foundation of a future Catalan republic.

The march was also one of the city’s first organized reactions to the violence and beatings at the hand of the Spanish police on Sunday, which saw 894 civilians injured – some elderly, some in critical condition.

Pepper spray and rubber bullets

In a sweeping operation to stop the referendum on independence, the Spanish government ordered the mobillization of thousands of police officers to Catalonia.  Citizens occupied polling stations ahead of the vote to keep them from being sealed off as ordered by the courts.

Then, as morning came, the Spanish police burst in. In some cases breaking glass windows to get through, the black-clad and armed riot police officers dragged, pushed, beat and pepper sprayed voters. They even fired rubber bullets to disperse the crowd.

Over 90% yes

Yet, the Catalan people remained non-confrontational, and the referendum went ahead until the scheduled time. Ultimately the ‘Yes’ vote won with 90.09%, out of 2,262,424 ballots counted, according to the Catalan government.

The march was organized by the student body in Barcelona, a civic group that has become more and more active in denouncing actions by the Spanish government. And, while the march was officially a student one, people of all ages attended.

Freedom of speech

Those who attended walked to Plaça Catalunya, alternately staging moments of silence and chanting in support of the referendum vote and in condemnation of the Spanish police actions. Some who marched also wore tape over their mouths to symbolize the freedom of speech they felt had been violated yesterday. 

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  • Students protest police violence and uphold the voting resullts in Barcelona center on October 2 (by ACN)

  • Students protest police violence and uphold the voting resullts in Barcelona center on October 2 (by ACN)

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