Uprising for Independence in Catalonia
By Marianne Barriaux and Laurence Boutreux
Protesters blocked roads, public transport slowed to a crawl and FC Barcelona refused to train on Tuesday as Catalonia observed a general strike over police violence at a banned weekend independence referendum. Schools and some businesses also shut in a dramatic protest bound to further ratchet up fever-pitch tensions with Spain's central government, as Madrid comes under growing international pressure to resolve its worst political crisis in decades.
The Port of Barcelona reduced services to a minimum, and protesters stood on roads and highways across Catalonia, blocking traffic. On the AP7 highway linking Barcelona to France two youths set up a folding table and played chess.
Catalan pro-separatist trade unions, schools and cultural institutions called for the stoppage to "vigorously condemn" the police response to the Sunday poll, in which regional authorities confirmed over 90 people were injured.
Catalonia's leader said 90 percent of voters backed independence from Spain, but the central government has vowed to stop the wealthy northeastern region -- which accounts for a fifth of Spain's economy -- from breaking away, dismissing the poll as a "farce".
In Barcelona the Metro provided only minimum service and passengers travelled for free, while major tourist sites like the city's emblematic Sagrada Familia Church were closed.
"It's a bummer because we're only here for a few days. But it's hard to say my vacation is more important than what is happening here," Karen Healey, 53, from Portland in the United States told AFP outside Gaudi's Casa Batllo in central Barcelona, also shut for the day.
Despite concerns that air traffic might be disrupted too, Barcelona Airport was operating as normal, a spokesman told AFP.
At the city Sants train station all shops remained open except for the one run by FC Barcelona football club, which issued a statement saying both its professional and youth teams would not train on Tuesday.
Asking not to be named, an employee of a toy shop in the station said members of the strike committee had asked her to shut the store for the day.
She refused because "the store is not mine, otherwise I would have shut it, to defend human rights."
Carmaker Seat said its three production lines were "operating at their usual pace," a company spokeswoman told AFP.
Violent scenes played out in towns and cities across Catalonia on Sunday as riot police moved in on polling stations to stop people from casting their ballots, in some cases charging with batons and firing rubber bullets to disperse crowds.
UN rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said he was "very disturbed" by the unrest while EU President Donald Tusk urged Madrid to avoid "further use of violence". The European Parliament will hold a special debate on Wednesday on the issue.
The government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy held emergency talks after Catalan president Carles Puigdemont declared Sunday that Catalonia had "won the right to an independent state".
Puigdemont has appealed for international mediation to help solve the crisis and called for police deployed to Catalonia from other parts of Spain for the vote to be removed.
The regional government said 2.26 million people took part in the poll, or just over 42 percent of the electorate.
But any attempt to unilaterally declare independence is likely to be opposed not just by Madrid but also a large section of the Catalan population, a region of 7.5 million people that is deeply split on the issue.
Puigdemont has said he will now present the results to the region's parliament, where separatist lawmakers hold a majority, and which has the power to adopt a motion of independence.
The Catalan leader said close to 900 people had received medical attention on Sunday, though regional authorities confirmed a total of 92 injured. Four were hospitalised, two in serious condition.
Videos posted on social media showed police dragging voters from polling stations by their hair, throwing people down stairs and attacking Catalan firefighters protecting polling stations.
Magdalena Clarena Dabant, a 70-year-old grandmother, described a "brutal" incident when she decided to join "passive resistance" in her village to prevent the Guardia Civil police from seizing a ballot box.
"To stop them, many voters sat on the floor, I sat on a chair. They told me to go away, I responded I wouldn't move.
"They grabbed me by the arm, strongly, and I fell on the floor. In hospital they told me my wrist was broken." (AFP)
Solution must be acceptable to Tamils Separate State is not a reasonable request - Former Army Commander, General Gerry De Silva RWP, VSV, USP
If we join with the govt then the vote will tilt to the JVP or people will abstain from voting We have to form a new party!
- Moscow’s Middle East Resurgence
- How the UK Always Plays Ireland
- SEUSL gets a ‘Hela Bojun’ outlet
- BRT system could solve transport issues – Dr Gunaruwan
- Rajitha call for unity to eradicate malaria
- Foreign Investments strengthen Reserves
- Five arrested for attacking students
- Russian drowns in Hikkaduwa
- Inflation in 2017:Inclement weather to blame - CBSL
- Hasen Ali quits SLMC for UPA
- PC Amendment Act Bathiudeen unhappy
- Dayasiri blasts Janayugaya
- Recognizing Jerusalem as Israeli capital:SPPFA criticizes Trump
- Sriyani pledges to support President Quits JO due to neglect
- 25% Women representation Faiszer blasts opposing Ministers
- Most Ven. Prajnananda Maha Thero dead
- Railway strike to continue Talks with Kariyawasam not fruitful - Dodangoda
- Opposition failed to criticize Budget– Harsha
- Air Force X’mas Carols
- Prof. Hapuarachchi accepts responsibility, says: ‘Mawbima’ news item is correct
- Railway Unions adamant Despite essential service declaration
- UN’s CAT OP effective from 4 Jan
- H’tota Port officially handed over to China First tranche of US$ 294 M paid yesterday
- Supply of coconuts to Army Treasury faces huge loss
- Budget passed with 99 majority
- Lakmal stars in Sri Lanka’s victory
- Asia Rugby U-19 Hong Kong trounce Sri Lanka
- Premier League Club Cricket BRC and Colts win
- Dialog Champions League Emma scores hat-trick
- Army SC in hard fought win
- ‘Singer Cup’ U-19 Cricket Match drawn at Moratuwa
- 12th Singapore Nationals Lankan Synchro swimmers excel
- England draw warm-up match
- Shakib named new Bangladesh Test captain
- Dr. Lucas wins gold medals
- Truax shocks DeGale with majority decision
- Southee, Boult dominate for Kiwis
- James carries Cavs, Clippers edge Wizards
- Conte concedes title chances are gone
- Lowry-McDowell share lead
- MAS boxers dominate
- Turkey: Nearly 70 journalists on trial in one week
- Havelocks win a tight game
- Sri Lanka can rise to the occasion
- Singer Cup’ Under-19 Schools Cricket Rahula and S. Thomas’ win
- Fiscal Liability Act in Parliament in Jan
- First tranche of us$ 294 M for Hambantota Port Boost for foreign reserves, imports- cb Governor
- ‘Ports and Shipping Ministry ranked least efficient’
- Finance Company bad loans up 11.5%
- Dilshan Wirasekara elected to CSE Board
- The Jobs Numbers: US employers add 228,000 new jobs Last updated: 8 December 2017
- Stocks rally as dollar posts best week this year
- Nikkei leads Asia markets higher on Friday
- World Bank says Government lacks the will
- Lessons for WTO from EU’s ‘differentiated integration’
- Global powers lobby to stop ‘special’ Brexit deal
- WTO summit What you need to know
- US jobs growth stronger than expected
- WTO won’t survive Recognizing China as a Market Economy
- China has one big advantage
- Offline and online integration delightful customer journeys
- New investors for operational Port
- tea, rubber, spice exports to Korea soon President slams Diplomats for not promoting exports Says many countries aren’t aware SL produces tea, rubber Navin eyes 40% Chinese market share, from current 25%
- TI Cycles to buy two Lankan firms for $3.3M
- Two shortlisted for BOC’s new GM/CEO post
- Local Govt elections: Dilemma of the voter People get the leaders they deserve - Joseph de Maistre
- From stifling the freedom of expression A culture of accountability need of the hour To deal with the culture of impunity that pervades Sri Lankan institutions
- Concretes & Abstracts Pogrom in the Penitentiary & T.S. Elliot
- FRANCHISE DELAYED IS FRANCHISE DENIED
- Books the potent portable medium
- Sampanthan’s unique role
- United nations warns:No hasty returns of Rohingya to Myanmar!
- New Constitution Altering Territorial Boundaries
- Sale of migrants as slaves in Libya May be crime against humanity UN
- Trimble Inc land survey contract Surveyors cry foul, but accused of inefficiency
- Railway tracks cheaper than highways
- Delimitation process Public response quite low – Dr. K. Thavalingam
- Solution must be acceptable to Tamils Separate State is not a reasonable request - Former Army Commander, General Gerry De Silva RWP, VSV, USP
- We are moving forward whilst clashing with each other
- Transport systems Cheaper and efficient solutions needed – Prof. Kumarage
- Alleged human rights violations Lord Naseby defends Sri Lanka
- Tourists least concerned about liquor availability Reducing the price of beer a blunder! A gateway to all other drugs
- Plantar fasciitis That Intolerable Heel Ache
- Neecha Dosha of planets and how it is cancelled Neechabhanga Rajayoga
- Vastu defects and bathrooms
- Are you endowed with Pancha Maha PurushaYoga?
- God Aiyanayake: Guardian Deity of Jungle and Village
- Good thoughts eliminate bad planetary influence
- The Disaster Artist: The (un)making of a movie
- Our children and our cinema
- INTERPRETING ASIAN CINEMA: CHALLENGES AHEAD
- How Sanskrit journalism is slowly hogging headlines
- ice manufacturing in South Asia
- CMSC’s season finale concert
- Two documentaries on Sri Lanka in Film South Asia 2017
- Politics of nostalgia
- Kite Surfing Lanka Kalpitiya An experience of a lifetime
- Ella and mini Adam’s Peak
- A cave of history -Ravana Cave
- Silvia Senanayake Dazzles at Mrs. Asia International
- Let’s Taco Colombo
- THE WRITER’S KITCHENNETTE MULLED WINE
- Hunger gnaws at Rohingya Children in camps
- Defeating IS Russia has ‘accomplished’ task
- Saudi Princess Ameera Aidan fights sex exploitation
- Hacking into the gate
- Review: A Bad Moms Christmas Relatable holiday humour
- A must watch superhero film!