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Country Risk

Spanish police intervention in Catalan referendum raises likelihood of early regional elections and ongoing challenge to Madrid government

02 October 2017

Event

On 1 October, the Catalan regional government went ahead with its plans to hold an independence referendum despite prohibition by the Spanish courts on the grounds that the referendum was unconstitutional

The Spanish authorities ordered the national riot police to intervene at voting centres to remove ballot boxes after the regional force disregarded instructions to intervene. This led to a total of 761 people in need of medical treatment, according to Catalan health authorities, as the riot police used significant force in closing under 100 of the 2,000 plus polling stations. Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy asserted that no referendum had taken place, while the Catalan regional government said that 90% of the 2.25 million people voting supported independence.

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