Millions of people in Catalonia are expected to vote in a referendum on independence in defiance of the Spanish government
Blai Antonio, a 76-year-old retired taxi driver emerged from the polling station at the Escuela Mireia triumphant and with tears in his eyes. Pushing through a cheering crowd, he said: “The experience of being able to vote has given me a satisfaction I could never have dreamt of. It would have been impossible under Franco – although his heirs are still in power. Catalan independence is important so that we can live in a democracy, which Spain isn’t. We send all our money to the government and get crumbs in return.”
Antonio said that, unlike some others, he had been able to vote in peace. “The oppressive police haven’t come here yet but we still have the whole day ahead of us and they could come and steal the ballot boxes with our votes in them. We just want to be able to vote free of the oppression of any state.”
Catalan government spokesman Jordi Turull has announced that 73% of polling stations have been able to open and asked for patience as “there are constant attacks on the computer system”.