Catalonia’s Independence Referendum on October 1 has opened up a major regime crisis in Spain. Braving brutal police repression, hundreds of thousands occupied and defended polling stations so that 2.2 million people could vote on the day. There were images of police officers using hammers to break through the doors of polling stations and then snatching polling boxes from the hands of the people, of police officers using batons against unarmed civilians, including elderly ladies, of police officers throwing people downstairs.

The Catalan masses are gearing up for a massive strike movement today, as key unions commit to a nationwide ‘stoppage’ after facing brutal repression by the Spanish state during the referendum on Sunday. The referendum movement is developing a radical, working-class character under pressure from below, putting a Catalan Republic on the agenda. This is opening up a crisis with the potential to topple the Spanish regime.

Brutal police repression failed to stop the Catalan independence referendum faced with the determination of hundreds of thousands to overcome all obstacles to participate. What we saw yesterday in Catalonia was on the one hand the real ugly face of the Spanish regime created during the so-called “Transition” at the end of the Franco regime, and on the other the mass mobilisation and self-organisation of the Catalan people to exercise their right of self-determination.

Yesterday, (Wednesday, 27 September) students in Catalonia were out on strike and on the streets in many towns and cities. High school students blocked dozens of roads and highways. Most polling centres for Sunday are schools, so the students are called on to play a decisive role in the ongoing events in the build up to the referendum on Sunday.

This morning (Sunday, 24th September), there were mass rallies all over Catalonia. The one in Barcelona was attended by thousands of people. This is significant, because this weekend is the Mercè festivity, which is a very important holiday and one would not expect big demonstrations.

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