World Bulletin / News Desk
After Catalan police failed to stop a vote for independence, Spanish police descended Sunday on several voting areas throughout Catalonia to stop what authorities consider to be an illegal act.
Tensions rose in some voting centers, including Saint Julia de Ramis School in Girona and Ramon Llull School in Barcelona, as dozens of anti-riot Spanish police blocked Catalan activists from voting, according to images from Spanish broadcasters.
However, in dozens of other centers, the voting has begun. The Catalan police force (Mossos d’Esquadra) had orders to clear out the voting centers by 6 a.m. (0400GMT) Sunday morning, but in many cases, they were unable to stop it.
In the Official Language School Drassanes in Barcelona, activists slept inside overnight and more came at 5 a.m. for passive resistance. The Mossos arrived around 6.30 a.m. but did not even try to clear out the building.
"The Mossos are the good guys," Bernard, 60, from Barcelona told Anadolu Agency when they arrived.
Later, when the ballot boxes arrived by car, the Mossos blocked the car for about twenty minutes, but later left and allowed the activists to bring the ballot boxes inside, and the voting began, contrary to the Spanish central government's wishes.
"I've been waiting all my life for this vote and it's finally happened," said Bernard, after he voted around 9.30 a.m. for an independent Catalan Republic.
However, the Spanish national police have been deployed to stop the vote and are physically blocking it in some locations. Yet, in a press conference earlier in the morning, Catalan leaders said that if they were unable to vote at one location, Catalans could vote in another.
Catalan President Carles Puigdemont, who had announced that he would be voting in the Saint Julia de Ramis School in Girona, where the police presence is heavy, said he voted at another location.
The voting is expected to finish on Sunday evening, and what happens to the ballots during the counting process is still unknown.
If Catalans vote Yes for independence, which is expected as No voters are boycotting the vote for the most part, the pro-separatist Catalan government has said it will declare independence if they consider the vote valid.
The Spanish government remains firm that this will not be a legitimate vote no matter what happens.
Last Mod: 01 Ekim 2017, 13:36