Thousands of Catalonians Take to the Street in General Strike Over Violence
At least 15,000 people have joined a general strike and flooded the streets in protest of the extreme violence from police during the voting for the referendum on Catalonian independence.
This is #Barcelona right now
— Jamie Johnson (@JamieoJohnson) October 3, 2017
The massive crowd gathered in the streets outside the Barcelona headquarters of Spain’s national police force, who brutalized the young and elderly alike on Sunday during the voting process. Masked officers were also caught on video as they ripped ballot boxes from the polling places.
— Fuad Alakbarov (@DrAlakbarov) October 1, 2017
Tuesday’s protesters were chanting “independence,” “the streets will always be ours,” and that the national police are an occupying force. Catalonia’s regional president, Carles Puigdemont has said that 90% of the Catalan people voted for independence, announcing on Sunday that they had “won the right to an independent state.”
— Carla Fuster (@carla_fuster) October 3, 2017
On the eve of the strike, New York-based journalist Tim Pool, who is on the ground in Spain, told Big League Politics that the mood was calm, but serious.
“Everyone here is really calm. You can go about your business as though nothing is happening. But on Tuesday there’s going to be a general strike so you know that people are serious but reserved,” Pool said. “There are people who are closing their businesses out of fear. They know that if they stay open they could be attacked by protesters.”
Pool added that it was difficult for him to tell if it was a small minority of businesses shutting down, or if it was widespread.
“Many people tell me they are expecting the politicians to be arrested soon,” Pool told Big League. He noted that local police and firefighters were defending the citizens against the national police.
— Galiza Rebelde (@galizarebelde) October 1, 2017
“There’s a news article about a hotel in Catalonia kicking out national police,” Pool stated. “Personally I feel like if this kind of behavior continues the Spanish police will have to commandeer accommodations by force, and if civil servants continue to defy national police it seems like this can only go in one direction.”
As the world watched the events unfold in horror, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy told reporters that he hopes Catalan leaders will now give up on their separatist goals and get back to political normality.
— Help Catalonia 🎗 (@CataloniaHelp2) October 3, 2017
According to the Catalonian Department of Health, at least 893 voters were injured to the point of requiring medical assistance as they attempted to cast their ballots. At least 33 police officers were also injured.