Cork TD observing Catalan vote condemns violence

Cork TD observing Catalan vote condemns violence
Independence supporters gather in Barcelona's main square, Spain, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. Authorities say 844 people and 33 police were injured Sunday in Spanish police raids to halt the independence vote organized by the Catalan autonomous government that was declared ilegal by Spain's constitutional court. (AP Photo/Santi Palacios)

SOLIDARITY TD MICK Barry has described the police violence against voters in Catalonia as a "savage" repression of democracy.

The Cork North Central TD was part of a parliamentary visitor group that was invited to observe the controversial Catalonian independence referendum held yesterday. The central Spanish government had forbidden the vote and efforts by police to prevent people from taking part ended with hundreds of people being injured. 

Spanish riot police swings a club against would-be voters near a school assigned to be a polling station by the Catalan government in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. Spanish riot police have forcefully removed a few hundred would-be voters from several polling stations in Barcelona. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
Spanish riot police swings a club against would-be voters near a school assigned to be a polling station by the Catalan government in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. Spanish riot police have forcefully removed a few hundred would-be voters from several polling stations in Barcelona. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said that the violence was the fault of the people who carried out the illegal referendum, and praised the police force who were seen firing rubber bullets and charging with batons at protestors who were protecting polling stations.

Speaking from Catalonia last night, Mr Barry said that he had seen huge crowds of people peacefully turning out to the polls in Barcelona, Sitges, and Subirat.

"Irrespective of what you think of Catalonian independence, this is about the right to vote and the right to decide the future of the region and this community strongly but peacefully asserted that right.

"It was a day of two stories - the determination of the people of Barcelona and Catalonia to vote and the savage attempts by the Spanish government and the Spanish state to deny them that right," he said.

He returned to Ireland today and said he will be raising the issue in the Dáil this week.

"It's a scandal that the Irish government and practically every government in Europe has kept quiet about this and we are going to put them under pressure on the floor of the Dail this week to end this shameful silence," he said.

Sinn Féin will hold a solidarity demonstration outside City Hall this evening, following a motion in Cork City Council last week supporting the right of the Catalonian people to hold a vote.

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