Catalonia’s independence referendum has plunged Spain into its most serious political crisis since a failed coup in 1981.
Here is how events unfolded:
– October 1: Violence-hit referendum –
After several days of rising tensions, thousands of Catalans line up to vote in the referendum, despite it being declared illegal by the Spanish courts and the central government.
Spanish riot police try to block the vote, forcing their way into polling stations to seize ballot boxes and voting material.
Shocking footage emerges of police charging crowds at some stations, using batons and rubber bullets and roughing up voters — sometimes elderly.
Catalonia says 893 people received medical attention, a figure disputed by Madrid.
Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont says “the citizens of Catalonia have won the right to an independent state in the form of a republic”.
But Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy insists: “There has not been a self-determination referendum in Catalonia. The rule of law remains in force with all its strength.”
– October 2: International concern –
The Catalan government claims 90 percent of voters backed independence on turnout of 42.3 percent, with parties opposed boycotting the vote.
The European Commission calls on Madrid and the separatists to hold a dialogue, while the United Nations urges Spain to investigate the violence.
Puigdemont demands the withdrawal of national police from Catalonia and calls for international mediation.
Several thousand people march in Barcelona and other Catalan towns to defend the referendum and denounce police violence…Read More