Massive protests in Catalonia after police violence at referendum

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WORLD ( Barcelona ) : Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Catalonia in a massive general strike on Tuesday to protest police violence at referendum that was held on Sunday. METRO News reports that the huge protest blocked motorways, closed schools and halted businesses as workers and students joined the strike. People were seen playing chess in the middle of otherwise busy motorways, and walking calmly down dual carriageways as the state was brought to a standstill. In Barcelona, the state’s capital, bus and metro services were affected by the strike.

On Sunday referendum, 90% of the 2.26 million Catalans voted in favor of independence, according to the preliminary results released by the regional government. The region has 5.3 million voters. Officials said 770,000 votes were lost due to disruption which resulted in polling stations being raided by Spanish police.

The referendum was deemed illegal and invalid by the Spanish government which considered Catalonia part of Spain.  National police forces were drafted in to violently remove voters from the ballots which resulted in around 840 voters injured in the violence, which saw people – including the elderly and children – being hit with rubber bullets, beaten with truncheons, and dragged forcibly away from polling stations.