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Barcelona: Eyewitness report

A socialist from Canada

October 1, 2017

Throughout Barcelona there are posters with the outlines of faces with a red streak over the mouth above the word "Democracia". Others urge voting "Si". Graffiti everywhere urges people to "Voterem". Posters have also been defaced and torn down. The Catalan flag flies on the balconies, along with flag versions of the "Democracia" and "Si" posters.

On Saturday September 30, we went searching for an advertised rally in the El Raval section of the old city. We never were able to find the demonstration, but instead we found a community centre (IES Miguel Tarrada BCN) there where the Comite de Defensa del Referendum Gotic-Raval was in session. Given the threats by the Spanish state police (4 different police forces) to shut down the vote, the Catalan independence movement has had to get creative to make sure that the polling stations remain open for the vote. This local comittee had a program of activities like poetry reading and musical acts scheduled to run until Sunday morning to ensure that the police cannot shut the building down before the voting can take place.

When we came back to Poblenou in the evening, the local referendum polling station was easy to spot in the local school (Escola la Llacuna del Poblenou) because it was full of people with many children playing. Throughout Catalunya, local committees are occupying polling stations In the name of democracy.

Some of the activists in the occupations proudly likened their struggle to that of "Tweety Pie" versus "Silvester" after it became known that police were being housed in a cruise ship with the cartoon characters emblazoned on the side. Warner Bros. was not amused and demanded they be covered up.

The actions of the Spanish state have forced the movement to adopt revolutionary methods to secure the right to vote for independence, and rather than squashing the vote, it has made more people support independence in Catalunya.

No matter the outcome of the vote, the struggle for Catalan independence will continue.




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