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Spanish Police Beat Catalan Voters and Seize Ballots, Sparking Outrage

  • Images of violence threatens Spanish government’s image
  • Belgian PM, J.K. Rowling among those expressing concern
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Catalans Signal They May Declare Independence

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy risked a backlash in the court of international public opinion as images of riot police beating up voters in Catalonia and seizing ballot boxes provoked outrage on social media and beyond.

Responding to a constitutional court order that called the independence vote illegal, Rajoy sent thousands of police to restore public order. As forces deployed, camera phones beamed the confrontations to the world. In one video, broadcast by a local newspaper, a woman is seen being thrown down a flight of stairs. In another, police rip ballot boxes from the hands of would-be electoral officials.