For us this weekend was to be one of celebration. Saturday marked two anniversaries. It has been one year since our last day here on vacation last year. On that day we had a brief 10 minute meeting with our now landlord and came to arrangement for us to rent our casa. Not in 12 months when we had planned on moving but in a short 6 months. A major life-changing decision. Saturday also marked 6 months since we left North Carolina to live in Spain. Sunday was 6 months since we arrived here and started our new life and adventure.
Instead of celebrating we sat watching the TV stunned at what was taking place here. Yesterday, 1.10.2017 a vote was taking place for the #CatalanReferendum. A vote for independence from Spain. A vote that Spain did not want to happen. So, Spain brought in 5-6000 national police to stop the people from voting. How did the police attempt to stop the people from voting?
Peaceful people ranging in age from 18 to 102 years old lined up to vote. The national police violently broke into polling stations and confiscated the voting urns. Anyone in their path did not stand a chance. If you search #CatalanReferendum you will find horrifying photos of peaceful people with their hands in the air being beaten by the national police. They were thrown down stairs. Beaten with batons. Rubber bullets the size of golf balls were shot at them. They did not discriminate by age. The elderly were also beaten and forcibly removed. They just wanted to vote.
A sampling of today’s newspapers.
We watched in horror as this played out on the screen. We shared information on Twitter and Facebook urging the rest of the world to take notice. It doesn’t matter whether you agree with the referendum or not. Whether you think the vote was illegal or not. Violence being used against peaceful people is WRONG. Reports are that 893 people were injured yesterday. The Spanish government is stating that number is false and only 4 people were injured.
There was an 83 year old man who went to vote at 7am. He was attacked by police at 9am. Six hours later, now bandaged up, he was still determined and waiting to cast his vote. 83 years old. He has seen a lot in his time.
Another story of a lady who is shown on a video being thrown down by the national police and while she is on the ground one of them takes a hold of her hand and is breaking every single finger. She returned from the hospital with her broken fingers bandaged and in a sling and cast her vote.
There are videos and photos of firefighters protecting civilians from the national police.
The Mossos d’Esquadra, the Catalan police, had a very tough day as they were ordered by the Spanish Government to stop their friends and neighbors from voting. However, they found ways to obey laws and be kind to the people that they police every day. It was incredibly hard for them as they did not want to be between the Catalan people and the polling station. There were confrontations with the Mossos and the national police because of how the people were being treated. They were amazing.
Below is a video from Maricel TV showing how the Mossos reacted. Our friend Anna is the short lady in the black sweater and white shirt peacefully standing her ground against the Mossos entering a polling station in Sitges.
I should mention to you that in some places the people were giving (or attempting) to give red carnations to the police. Is that threatening?
Listen, I do not have the right to vote here. We have many friends that want Catalunya to be independent from Spain. We have some friends that do not. And we have friends that are not sure what should happen. It is not my place to say what should happen. This is their choice.
But, here’s the thing…
People should have the right to vote. Period.
It’s that simple.