REFLECTIONS

Catalonia's Bid for Independence Is a Zero-Sum Game

MIN READOct 2, 2017 | 15:22 GMT

Spanish police seize ballot boxes in a polling station in Barcelona, on Oct. 1, 2017, on the day of a referendum on independence for Catalonia banned by Madrid. And after hundreds were injured in clashes on election day and voting was disrupted so thoroughly that results cannot be considered reliable, it's clear that things in the region will get worse before they get better.

Spanish police seize ballot boxes in a polling station in Barcelona, on Oct. 1, 2017, on the day of a referendum on independence for Catalonia banned by Madrid. And after hundreds were injured in clashes on election day and voting was disrupted so thoroughly that results cannot be considered reliable, it's clear that things in the region will get worse before they get better.

(PAU BARRENA/AFP/Getty Images)

When asked about Madrid's potential reaction to the independence process in Catalonia, many Catalans used to say, "as soon as they send the tanks, they will have lost the battle." On Oct. 1, the Spanish government didn't send in the military to block the independence referendum. But it did send the police, resulting in clashes that left over 800 people injured according to Catalan authorities. And images of policemen storming schools, seizing ballot boxes and using force against voters will resonate at home and abroad for years to come. Yesterday's events have not only exacerbated Spain's worst political crisis since democracy was reestablished four decades ago, they have given the independence movement serious momentum, which Madrid will struggle to stop....

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