Information sources in this ESO record highlight the situation in the immediate days leading up to the referendum and the day of the referendum itself. There is a separate ESO record covering the results and subsequent analysis.
Raül Romeva, a member of the Catalan government in charge of foreign relations, said on the 28 September 2017 that Catalonia would proclaim independence within 48 hours if the ‘yes’ camp won in the referendum, but was open to proposals from the government from Madrid.
A final pro-separatist rally took place in Barcelona on the 29 September 2017 attended by tens of thousands. A smaller rally of opponents, organised by Ciudadanos, also took place.
The Catalan government insisted the referendum would take place, although the Spanish Constitutional Court had declared the referendum illegal.
Thousands of extra police were drafted in from across Spain as the Spanish government sought to stop the ballot from taking place.
The police officers were dispatched on the 30 September 2017 to evacuate buildings, often schools, planned to be polling stations in an attempt to stop the referendum from taking place with an ultimatum for the buildings to be empty and closed by 6am on the day of the referendum. However, police were warned not to use violence.
A anti-referendum protest of about 10,000 people took place in Madrid on the 30 September 2017. Other protests took place in other Spanish cities.
National Police and Civil Guard riot squads entered several polling stations in Barcelona and across Catalonia on the 1 October 2017 to prevent polling from taking place. Some violent incidents and scuffles took place. However, Catalan spokespersons said that over 70% of polling stations were open. Catalan emergency officials said 761 people had been injured.
The EU Institutions attempted to keep a distance from the tensions claiming that the issue was a national matter for Spain, although formally stressing the national integrity and legitimacy of Spain.
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