Spain: Chaotic, violent referendum in Catalonia shows landslide support for secession from Spain | The Washington Post
The results of a controversial and chaotic referendum in the Catalonia region of northeast Spain on Sunday showed landslide support for independence for the restive but affluent area, a lopsided vote sure to be vigorously challenged by the constitutional court and central government in Madrid as illegitimate and illegal. According to the Catalan government, 90 percent of the ballots cast were for independence — with 2,020,144 voting yes and 176,566 no. Minutes after the first few thousand votes were posted, the regional president and leading secessionist, Carles Puigdemont, appeared on stage to announce that Catalonia had won “the right to independence” and called on Europe to support its split from Spain. But nothing about the vote was regular — or orderly, transparent or peaceful. Images of police beating voters in stylish, cosmopolitan Barcelona fueled a widespread perception that Europe, in particular, and the West, in general – far from cheering on the breakup of Spain – face yet more tensions and dislocation. And it is far from clear that Catalonia is any closer to independence. The vote left the region and nation deeply divided.