Yes side wins Catalonia independence vote marred by chaos
|| Associated Press
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Catalonia’s regional government declared a landslide win for the “yes” side in a disputed referendum on independence from Spain that degenerated into mayhem Sunday, with more than 800 people injured as riot police attacked peaceful protesters and unarmed civilians trying to cast their ballots.
Catalonia has “won the right to become an independent state,” Catalan president Carles Puigdemont said after the polls closed, adding that he would keep his pledge to declare independence unilaterally if the “yes” side wins.
“Today the Spanish state wrote another shameful page in its history with Catalonia,” Puigdemont added, saying he would appeal to the European Union to look into alleged human rights violations during the vote.
Catalan regional government spokesman Jordi Turull told reporters early Monday that 90 percent of the 2.26 million Catalans who voted chose the “yes” side in favor of independence. He said nearly 8 percent of voters rejected independence and the rest of the ballots were blank or void. He said 15,000 votes were still being counted.
The region has 5.3 million registered voters, and Turull said the number of ballots didn’t include those confiscated by Spanish police during violent raids that aimed to stop the vote.
No one knows what will happen if Catalan officials follow through on their pledge to use the vote as a basis for declaring independence, a provocation that would possible remove from Spain one of its most prosperous regions, including the coastal city of Barcelona, the regional capital.
Hundreds of police armed with truncheons and rubber bullets were sent in from other regions to confiscate ballots and stop the voting, and amateur video showed some officers dragging people out of polling stations by the hair, throwing some down stairs, kicking them and pushing them to the ground. Anguished, frightened screams could be heard.
Police were acting on a judge’s orders to stop the referendum, which the Spanish government had declared illegal and unconstitutional — and Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said going forward with the vote only served to sow divisions.
In a televised address after the majority of polls closed Sunday, he thanked the Spanish police, saying they had acted with “firmness and serenity” — comments sure to anger Catalans.”
“They were walking through downtown when he stopped to use the restroom,” brother-in-law Kalani Kalanui told the network. “Moments later all hell broke loose and Heidi was swept up in the terrified crowd and she lost sight of Jared.”
The family has been trying to contact the US consulate for information about Jared.
The State Department said an American was injured but would not disclose a name.”
Tourists from around the globe killed in Barcelona terror attack
|| NY Post
“They came to Barcelona from around the world.
Citizens of Belgium, Poland and Germany were among the 13 people tragically killed when a terrorist drove through a crowd of pedestrians on the tourist-filled street Las Ramblas.
We unfortunately have to lament a Belgian victim in #Barcelona. I send my condolences to her family and her loved ones,” Belgium’s Deputy Prime Minister Didier Reynders tweeted Thursday afternoon in French and Dutch.
A Polish woman who died lived in Silesia, and her boyfriend is grieving, local media reported.
Three Germans also died in the attack, which left at least 100 others injured.
Photos of the massacre show battered pedestrians laying on the street in pools of blood — including an elderly couple whose bodies appeared limp on the side of the road.
An Australian woman from New South Wales is in the hospital in “serious but stable condition,” the nation’s foreign minister, Julie Bishop, said.
Two young men who hail from Melbourne had been “directly affected” but returned to their hotel rooms, she added.
A Greek woman was wounded, as well, but it’s unclear how severe her injuries were.
Fifteen of those injured in the terror attack remain in serious condition, authorities said.
Witnesses described the scene as “total chaos.”
“We were coming back from the beach and saw a scene of total chaos. People were screaming, there were a lot of wounded people,” Patrick Tuenter, 20, of the Netherlands, told The Guardian.
Several people were frantically searching for their loved ones on Twitter.
“Please help my brother was near the terrorist attack in #Barcelona and I can’t get in contact with him. Please RT so we can find him,” wrote one user.”
Driver of Las Ramblas van ‘didn’t care who was in its way’
|| the Guardian UK
“Turning into Las Ramblas from the Plaça de Catalunya, the white van drove towards the pavement that runs down the centre of the boulevard. Then, to the horror of those nearest to it, the driver revved the engine, mounted the pavement, and began to accelerate. Swerving from side to side, the driver hunted down victims who were trying to escape.
The famous tourist attraction had been as it always is on an August afternoon: packed with stallholders and tourists, lined with human statues and with people enjoying chilled cava outside the many cafes.
Within seconds, the attacker had left the street strewn with dead and injured people, while hundreds of others fled, many of them screaming. It had taken the van a few seconds to travel almost 500 metres down the packed street, ending up straddling the famous mosaic by the artist Joan Míro, its front end almost torn off by the force of its impacts with people.
Jordi Lino was on a bus going down Las Ramblas when the attack began: “First I saw people running and then the van,” he said. “There were injured people in the middle of the Ramblas.”
A taxi driver told Spanish TV that he saw people being run over by the van, as did Lourdes Porcar: “It was going very fast, without caring about who was in its way.”
Tom Markwell, from New Orleans, had just arrived in a taxi when he heard the screaming.
“It sounded like they were screaming for a movie star,” he said. “Then I saw the van. It had already been busted on the front. It was weaving left and right, trying to hit people as fast as possible. There were people lying on the ground.”
Liam Searle said: “I was very, very close to it. It was like 10ft from me. I luckily wasn’t on the Ramblas, I was in the road, and I quickly ran into, I think it was the opera house, along with everyone else.
“Everyone was hiding behind things. And no one had a clue what was going on. We just heard a load of bangs and some other things and then, like, everyone just ran.”
Albert Tort, an off-duty nurse who was one of the first on the scene, said he tried to give an Italian tourist life-saving treatment, but there was nothing he could do. “The pavement was full of bodies,” he said.
The first that most people knew of the attack was when others around them started to run away in panic.
Aamer Anwar, a human rights lawyer and rector at the University of Glasgow, was attending a conference in the city and said the fleeing crowd was like an avalanche.
Las Ramblas had been “mobbed” with tourists, he said. “I had been to the cathedral and walking down Las Ramblas for something to eat. Part of it was in the shade so I decided to keep walking down and literally within 10 seconds there was a crashing noise.
“The whole street just started to run screaming. I saw a woman running, when we stopped she was screaming, because she could not see her children.
“People started running and jumping into shops. I ran for about 50 or 100 metres and stopped to see what was happening.
“I could see chaos right at the top area and I spoke to a shopkeeper who had run down and was screaming. He was Bengali so I spoke to him in Urdu and he said a van had driven into a crowd and he thought there were five to six people very seriously injured.
“Literally within 30 seconds police vans, ambulances, police officers with guns were piling out, and we were sectioned off and then being pushed rapidly back,” he said.
Many people fled into the cafes and stores that line Las Ramblas, and hid inside behind shutters that were pulled down after them. For a period, police insisted they stay inside while the area was searched.
Tourist Mel Higgins said she and her two daughters were walking down a nearby street when people began running towards them screaming and shouting. The trio ran into an Orange mobile phone shop where the staff locked the doors and everyone waited for about 20 minutes.
“Then it seemed very calm out on the street,” she said, “and obviously the people working in Orange were in touch with the police and the police said just stay there for now. Then about 20 minutes later, they said we could leave and we were just about to leave when people started running again, and screaming, and they said: ‘Everyone back in!’.”
Carol Augustin, a manager at La Palau Moja, an 18th-century building on Las Ramblas that houses government offices and a tourism information centre, said the van passed right in front of the building.
“People started screaming and running into the office. It was such a chaotic situation. There were families with children. The police made us close the doors and wait inside,” she said.
Ambulance crews arrived quickly and began tending to the injured, while police officers began searching for the attacker, sealed off the area and told people to leave the scene.
Rhys Richards, who is in Barcelona on holiday, said: “I saw one person lying on the ground receiving CPR and another person lying on the ground motionless. You don’t think it can happen to you. It was horrible and terrifying.”
Steve Garrett, who was in a nearby market, took shelter in a bakery with several others after streams of people ran inside. One member of the group said she had heard gunshots after the incident. ”
CNN’s Phil Mud Declares Deep State Will Kill Trump | ‘Govt’s Gonna Kill this Guy’
|| dc Whispers
“Good Lord. Imagine the collective outcry if anything remotely similar had been said on air by a news organization against the former president. Add to this the heightened state of unhinged anti-Trumpism from the far left and what we have here is CNN actively participating in creating an environment that already contributed to Republican members of Congress getting shot by Democrat activists. (Congressman Steve Scalise is still fighting hard to recover from his wounds.)
Is this wishful thinking? Marching orders? Irresponsible hyperbole?
‘We don’t need Germany – Trump is welcome!’ Poland rolls out red carpet for US President
|| Express UK
“DONALD Trump arrived in Poland to a hero’s welcome for meetings with countries closest to Russia on his way to the G20 summit in Germany later in the week.
The US President landed in Warsaw at 9.30pm BST where he will get a chance to patch up trans-Atlantic ties this week when he meets with NATO allies still rattled by his failure on an earlier trip to embrace the principle that an attack against one member is an attack against all.
He disembarked Air Force One with wife Melania, wearing an emerald green trench coat, by his side.
The White House said he would showcase his commitment to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in a speech and in meetings with a group of nations closest to Russia on his way to the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany on Friday and Saturday.”
‘Potential Act of Terror’ as Van Hits Pedestrians in ‘Major Incident’ at London Bridge, Reports of Stabbings Multiple Injuries
“Police responded to an incident in central London on Saturday night following a report a van has hit a number of pedestrians on London Bridge. The Met Police has confirmed they responded to reports of stabbings in nearby Borough Market, and there were reports of gunfire. The Prime Minister confirmed the incident is being treated as an act of terrorism.
At 2208hrs British Summer Time (BST), Metropolitan Police officers responded to reports of a vehicle in collision with pedestrians.
Witnesses have said a white van mounted the pavement and ran over pedestrians.
There are reports there are armed police at the scene, and about five people are being treated for their injuries after being hit by the vehicle.
BBC reporter Holly Jones, who was on the bridge at the time of the incident, said the van was driven by a man and was “probably travelling at about 50 miles an hour”.
Ms. Jones said the van, which was travelling from the direction of central London, headed towards the south side of the river.
She later reported seeing a man being arrested by police. She said he was handcuffed and had his shirt off.
An eyewitness told Sky News he saw people who seemed to have been run over and people being placed in an ambulance covered in blankets.
A nearby railway station has been closed and police are advising people to stay away from the area.”
German Finance Minister Responds to Manchester Attack: Christians Can Learn from Muslim Migrants
“The growing number of Muslims in Germany represents not a threat but a learning opportunity, said Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, discussing Islam in the wake of the Manchester attack.
“It is fanaticism, not only in Islam, that leads to terrible crimes,” he said, speaking on German public radio station Deutschlandfunk Wednesday evening, when asked about the Islamist attack in which 22 mostly young people, including an eight-year-old girl, lost their lives.
“It is certainly a misunderstanding of religion when belief slips into fanaticism or, at worst, violence.
“The world’s great religions all preach the message that one must look upon others as their sisters and brothers, and that one must live with the other because man cannot live alone,” Schäuble told presenter Christiane Florin.
“‘Islam is part of Germany’ is a sober, factual statement,” the minister remarked, commenting on sentiments voiced by Chancellor Angela Merkel on more than one occasion – which are not shared by the majority of Germans.
“Anyone who denies this denies reality and is therefore not suited to being a politician, because politics begins with the confrontation of reality,” he added.
The country’s rapidly growing Muslim demographic presents an “opportunity” for “Christians, and all who live in Germany”, Schäuble stated, adding: “We can learn from them.
“Many human values are very strongly realised in Islam. Think of hospitality, and other things like, what is there… And also tolerance, I believe, for example.”
Discussing his recently published book, Protestantism and Politics, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) minister said the church has no monopoly on truth and criticised voices within who “argue too much in secular matters from a point of religious conviction.”