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The rise of Catalonia’s independence movement

On October 1, the Spanish region of Catalonia held a controversial referendum on independence. Before the vote took place, the Spanish Constitutional Court ruled the vote illegal and sent in the national guard to stop it from happening. Despite government opposition, the vote was held, and clashes between voters and police ensued.

Ninety percent of the participants voted in favor of independence, but public surveys say that current support for independence in Catalonia is only 41 percent.

Despite the contested referendum results, Catalonia has declared independence unilaterally. In response, Spain is moving to dissolve the Catalan regional government, remove its leaders from office, and hold regional elections. The political tension is mirrored in the streets. Separatist, anti-independence, and even pro-dialogue demonstrations have filled Barcelona since the referendum was held.

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