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Catalonia Referendum Aftermath: Live Updates


4:28 p.m. Thursday

Leader of the Catalan Parliament Carme Forcadell mocks the Tribunals injunction: “Prohibiting a a legislative session that has not even met yet is the new offer of dialogue.”

3:00 p.m. Thursday

The Spanish Constitutional Tribunal issues an injunction against the meeting of the Catalan Parliament on Monday October 9th.

10:40 a.m. Thursday

Reports of Spanish military units moving to Barcelona. Vehicles belonging to AALOG 41 were identified arriving at the Santa Eulalia military post on the southern outskirts of Barcelona. This is a brigade-level logistical support group from Zaragoza and normally based with the I.Brigade “Aragón” (though not an organic part of that unit). Normal missions include supply, maintenance & repair and transport. This is not a combat formation; it will supporting Guardia Civil and National Police formations.

9:40 p.m. Wednesday

Spanish Deputy PM Soraya Saenz Santamaría says that Puigdemont is “divorced from reality”.

9:21 p.m. Wednesday

Carles Puigdemont went on television  and rebuked Spanish King. He accused him of abandoning his role as a moderator and playing politics. He said the king was disregarding millions of Catalan  and tolerating violence against civilians. He then rejected violence and threats and called for moderation and reflection. He also called on Rajoy to accept offers of mediation that have been tendered: the Archbishop of Barcelona, from Podemos and United Left, from Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) and from Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau.

4:26 p.m. Wednesday

Leader of Catalan Parliament Carme Forcadell calls for a session of the legislature to consider the results of the referendum on Monday the 9th of October.

9:19 p.m. Tuesday

Spanish king closes the door to dialogue with “irresponsible and disloyal” Catalan leaders on national TV. Full backing of the government’s position – no mention of excessive police violence during Sunday’s events. A message clearly aimed more at the PSOE – i.e. get on board – than towards conciliating Catalans. There was zero spirit of conciliation; the message was “submit or else”.

The contents of the speech were not really a surprise. The only possibilities were:
a) another call to “calm” w/ a vague offer of dialogue; and,
b) this.

I expect the Spanish prosecutor to order the arrest of Puigdemont and other pro-independence Catalan leaders in the next couple of days, while Prime Minister Rajoy will ask the Spanish Parliament to authorize Article 155, the suspension of Catalonia’s Autonomous Charter. If President Puigdemont was waiting on negotiations offer to declare independence, there isn’t much point anymore.

Meanwhile, in Catalonia, thousands of people respond to the king with a giant “cacerolazo” – banging on pots and pans in protest.

That’s all for tonight. Going to bed after king’s speech and cacerolazo response. More tomorrow. Good night and God bless.

7:37 p.m. Tuesday

TP: Firefighters arrive to wild cheering, applause. “The firefighters will always be ours!”

6:58 p.m. Tuesday

The Spanish Royal Household announces that King Felipe VI will address the nation at 9 p.m. CET today to discuss the situation in Catalonia. Will he be the carrot to Rajoy’s stick? Or will he show up in his uniform and role as Commander-in-Chief?

6:48 p.m. Tuesday

TP: The rally finishes with the crowd singing “Els Segadors”.

6:25 p.m. Tuesday

TP: Protesters read out a manifesto demanding the immediate withdrawal of Spanish police and Guardia Civil from Catalonia. The mood of the rally is festive with the castellers coming to wrap things up.

6:01 p.m. Tuesday

TP: The crowd chants: “Prensa espanyola prensa manipuladora” (Spanish press, lying press), as well as: “Don’t hit our grandparents” and “The streets will always belong to us”.

5:41 p.m. Tuesday

TP: There is a steady stream of people heading to the afternoon rally at City Hall. Terrassa will be packed. There are rumors and unconfirmed reports of Spanish police and Guardia Civil in plainclothes infiltrating the crowds to make trouble. The official twitter says to alert them immediately to any violence.

4:41 p.m. Tuesday

TP: Next up is another rally at 6 p.m. at Terrassa City Hall while it is at Plaza Universitat in Barcelona.

2:43 p.m. Tuesday

Correction to previous: The 48-hour countdown begins upon the official declaration of the results of the vote count, which has not yet happened. In previous elections and referendums, this period has been from 4 to 14 days. So the post-referendum ambiguity could last until the 17th of October, with an official count published on the 15th and the count-down to a declaration of independence up to 48 hours later.

1:59 p.m. Tuesday

The 48-hour period after the referendum to declare independence included in the (suspended) Referendum Law will expire at midnight tonight. By that time, the Catalan Parliament should have convened, or at least scheduled, an ordinary session to declare independence and to put into effect the contingencies and processes described in the (suspended) Transition Law. If nothing happens within approximately 10 hours, there will be serious doubts about the commitment of the pro-independence Catalan leadership to put their whole “skin in the game”.

1:40 p.m. Tuesday

TP: People continue to arrive even though rally is over. Massive.  Friday there was palpable fear of the police and what might happen during the referendum, but that has disappeared. Today, the people are jubilant. They say: “we voted, we won”.

1:17 p.m. Tuesday

TP: End of the rally in front of National Police headquarters. People disperse peacefully and without incident.

1:01 p.m. Tuesday

TP: Crowds moving to (Spanish) National Police headquarters. So many people are arriving that they are overflowing into the next plaza over.

12:29 a.m. Tuesday

TP: protesters in front of Partido Popular headquarters in Terrassa. Crowds are chanting: “occupation troops go home”, “independence” and “the streets are ours”.

12:23 a.m. Tuesday

Mossos now reporting 57 roads and highways cut and 5 more with delays.

11:19 a.m. Tuesday

Reports of over 40 major & minor roads cut by protesters forming human and vehicular barricades. These include the AP-7 (main route to France) and the A-2 (Mediterranean corridor). No incidents reported so far.

11:17 a.m. Tuesday

TP: Terrassa is closed for the most part. Some bars open, a few cafes, not much else.

8:53 a.m. Tuesday.

Thom Paine continues reporting from Terrassa, Catalonia. Yesterday, a crowd booed the Socialist mayor of Terrassa and shouted for his resignation. He opposed the referendum and the PSOE did not demand Rajoy’s resignation as Podemos did.

Also yesterday, workers at TVE (Spanish state television) protested what they called “biased coverage” of events in Catalonia. Holding signs saying “Shame”, they called for the resignation of the News Director, José Antonio Álvarez Gundín.

8:00 a.m. Tuesday

A regional-wide work stoppage has been announced in protest of the police brutality during Sunday’s vote. This is not the same as a strike for two key reasons: a strike requires the provision of basic services and a strike for non-labor reasons is not protected by law. This is political protest.

12:41 a.m. Monday.

“Sí” wins overwhelmingly in Catalan referendum marred by police violence and abstention by pro-union parties. The estimated turnout is approximately 41% (2.26 million ballots out of 5.51 million registered voters in the 2015 parliamentary election).

12:15 a.m. Monday.

The end of a bloody and emotional day. The government crack-down, though brutal enough, seems to have been random, sporadic and poorly organized. The focus of police repression has been in Barcelona and a few other towns, but most locations seem to be reporting normal voting with almost friendly visits and warning from the Mossos d’Esquadra.

Mariano Rajoy has lost Catalonia. Far from dismantling the referendum process, the government’s hamfisted response seems only to have increased turnout and convinced more Catalans that they are better off taking their chances out of Spain. Anyone who wasn’t firmly pro-union almost certainly went out and voted “sí”. The international press response has been overwhelmingly negative: strongly negative. These are opinions that matter, whether you agree with them or not. The days of Madrid burying its head in the sands seem to be over. The European Union will almost certainly call for a period of calm and dialogue, but it seems hard to believe that they will tolerate any more images of old women being brutalized or unarmed civilians being dragged down stairs. In one day, Mr. Rajoy’s Guardia Civil has turned Catalonia from an “internal Spanish matter” into a human rights issue for Europe. That is precisely what Carles Puigdemont wants and he is unlikely to relinquish this advantage. A declaration of independence is almost certainly coming in the next 48 hours. Then the Spanish government will now have to either occupy Catalonia for a generation like a police state or else – eventually – recognize defeat and negotiate whatever separation can be negotiated. I don’t credit the Spanish government with this much perspicacity, but I believe that one or two more “Bloody Sundays” will force the European Union to step in and impose a solution. Given the amount of money Spain owes them, “impose” is not too strong a word.

Common Sense will continue coverage of events in Catalonia throughout the week.

9:40 p.m. Sunday.

The estimated local turnout is about 40%, but this doesn’t count people who may have voted at different polling stations.

9:19 p.m. Sunday.

Volunteers remain at the school, still tallying ballots. Over 2,000 deposited. Many voters have been saying that they weren’t planning on coming out, or had planned to vote “no”, but switched their vote on seeing the reports and images of the police violence.

9:16 p.m. Sunday

Panoramic view of Terrassa school. About 200 people outside at 5 a.m. and by 9 a.m. there were 800.

8:50 p.m. Sunday

One of two attempts by Mossos to enter Terrassa schools. Mossos offered no violence.

8:45 p.m. Sunday

People gathered to prevent entry of Mossos into one Terrassa school.

8:41 p.m. Sunday

Earlier in the day, lines of citizens waiting patiently to vote.

8:40 pm Sunday

Contact re-established with Thom. Situation in Terrassa normal. Voting has been going on without interruption all day. Two local schools had police try to shut them down – Mossos in riot gear. In both cases the Mossos backed off while warning of the possibility of Spanish police and Guardia Civil coming. In one school, local firefighters were present to separate riot police from civilians.

5:00 pm Sunday

Apologies for interrupted service. School wifi network has been blocked and data networks have been overloaded. Correspondence with Thom in Catalonia has been cut off for much of the day.

9:40 am Sunday

Voting tables are set up and the line of people waiting to vote is already 3 deep.

8:00 am Sunday

There will be a universal census taken of voters, so if one polling station is closed, citizens can go to another. Lists will be compared centrally to prevent multiple votes by the same person.

8:00 am Sunday

A beautiful and historic morning in Barcelona and no Mossos or police in sight at school where Thom is.

7:00am Sunday

Good morning! Today is the day. Other days have been about Rajoy or Puigdemont, Mas or Junqueras. Today is all about the good citizens of Catalonia. Will they stand and be true?


12:34 am Sunday

In about five and a half hours the business becomes serious. The Mossos will try to empty the schools and disperse crowds, but have been ordered to use non-violent means. The Catalan citizens will politely refuse. The 10,000 or so imported Guardia Civil and Policia Nacional might not be so nice. Good night and God be with you.


10:30 pm Saturday

Castellers came by. Approximately 100 people will be staying the night, the rest will go home and rest for an early morning start at 6 am. This is the most intense lead-up to a vote Thom has ever been involved with. Everyone is excited and determined.

8:08 pm Saturday

Another assembly is formed to discuss plans for Sunday. About 200 people in attendance.

3:35 pm Saturday

Assembly is meeting in the school patio to decide if a group should be sent to “open” another school nearby. Crowds are beginning to form.

3:21 pm Saturday

Communications between schools have been set up, so people can share information and experiences.

3:14 pm Saturday

More people begin to show up after lunch. Someone has brought music: “You have to fight for tour right to party”. Beastie Boys.

9:14 am Saturday

All quiet after breakfast. Some folks going home to get some rest, wth plans to return in the afternoon. Plenty of family activities for the kids planned.

8 am Saturday

School occupiers have spent the night rotating the watch on the front gates. Nothing has transpired. Neighbors have brought breakfast.


12:41 am Saturday

Catalan Referendum coverage will continue in the morning. Good night and God bless.


12:24 am Saturday

Municipal police arrive and want to ticket an illegally parked car across from the school. Turns out it is a plain clothes cop; Mossos have to run over to wave the Munis off. Best action of the night.

12:19 am Saturday

Mossos pay a visit to school where Thom Paine is. Situation plays out as with the school in Terrassa. Looks like the Mossos have a long night ahead of them.

11:27 pm Friday

People bedding down for the night. There is no expectation of anything happening. Mossos Chief Trapero is reported to have ordered a peaceful dispersal of people from all schools on Sunday at 6 am. Zero hour. Many neighbors stopped by and were told to go home and return on Saturday night, to help hold out until 7 am Sunday.

10:20 pm Friday

Dinner finished and cleaned up. The cacerolazo stopped about 10 minutes prior. Another school in Terrassa received a visit from the Mossos who left an official notice to obey the instructions of theConstitutional Tribunal (TSCJ) and noting the presence of 60 to 70 adults and children at the school engaged in various sporting and educational activities. The Mossos made no effort to send people home or otherwise interfere.

8:27 pm Friday

Festive attitude as people decide to occupy the school patio. People are banging on pots outside the school and discussing dinner arrangements.

8:00 pm Friday

Approximately 70 people have gathered in the school with their families and a similar number on the street outside. They begin the assembly to vote on whether to form rotating pickets outside the school gates or to occupy the school patio until Sunday.

5:08 pm Friday

People begin to gather at a local school to discuss the best way to prevent its closure on Sunday. Two local traffic police remain watching the entrance for 15 minutes but do not interfere.

Common Sense will be following the historic events in Catalonia as people there make final preparations to hold their long announced referendum on independence from Spain. In order to provide constant coverage of the events this weekend, I’ll be working with an American colleague resident in Catalonia to transmit images and commentary as they happen from Friday to Monday. Although it may seem ludicrous to speak of anonymity in a Western European democracy in the 21st Century, we both feel that we must use a pseudonym in order to protect my colleague and his family. So I’ll be reporting his commentary as that of Thom Paine. Please follow us on Twitter @fdbetancor, at Common Sense (www.fdbetancor.com/) and at Medium (https://medium.com/@fdbetancor) for continuous coverage of the Catalan Independence referendum live and direct from Barcelona.

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