On October 1st 2017, the people of the semi-autonomous region of Catalonia in Spain, went to the polls to vote in a referendum to decide the regions future. The question - should Catalonia declare independence from Spain.
The Catalan region of Spain has a rich history, both of independence, and repression under the regime of General Franco. In the early years of Francos dictatorship, the regions language and culture were largely banned.
The people of the Catalonia have long since felt the need to break away from Spain, in order to celebrate it's cultural and linguistic differences from the rest of the country.
The October 1st vote was declared illegal by the Spanish government in Madrid, and national police were sent to the region with the explicit instruction to prevent the referendum from taking place. Violent scenes followed, and the actions of the Spanish police were featured by the press around the world.
Over 2 million Catalans successfully cast their vote, a turnout of over 43%, with an estimated 770,000 voters being prevented by the police from casting their vote.
The vote to break away from Spain recorded over 91% of the votes, with 177,000 no votes counted.
In the days following the referendum, the Spanish government again expressed it's displeasure with the poll, and remained firm that the referendum was unconstitutional and therefore illegal and void.
Public protests followed. First a demonstration and general strike by pro-independence supporters, then on the Sunday, a week after polling, a mass protest for Spanish unity.
Towards the end of the following week, speculation was rife that Catalan president Charles Puigdemont would make an announcement declaring independence. His speech eventually came on Tuesday 10th October.
Tens of thousands gathered before the Catalan parliament buildings to follow the speech on big screens. As Mr Puigdemont stated that he had signed a declaration of independence, the gathered crowds began to celebrate, only for the president moments later to say that he would not yet enforce the declaration without dialogue being opened with the central government in Madrid. The general mood was one of disappointment.
Hola República - but not just yet.
© 2017 Ape Photos