Rubber bullets, blows from batons and damages. Police brutality broke out in Catalonia on 1 October to prevent citizens from voting in their referendum on self-determination. This right to self-determination is internationally recognised and all the states of the United Nations are obliged to support it. Luckily, they did not fully succeed in preventing this, as the sheer will of resistance of thousands of anonymous people meant that 2,286,217 people, 43.03% of the electorate based on a census of 5.3 million people, were able to vote, even after discounting the votes from the ballot boxes seized by the national police and the mossos d’esquadra.
The images of this fierce violence which left over a thousand injured in its wake, one of whom lost the sight of one eye, with the police entering polling stations and taking away ballot boxes were seen halfway around the world and showed up the authoritarian nature of a Spanish state which continues to abuse basic human rights such as freedom of speech.
The abuse to democratic rights from the state did not begin on the 1 October, nor did it end that day. This was followed by the dissolution of the Parliament of Catalonia and the Generalitat Government, democratically elected by the Catalan people on 27 September 2015, the political intervention of the autonomy (economic intervention had already been exercised some months earlier), as well as legal charges and preventive prison for two non-violent civil activists and ten members of government, the exile of the rest of the government, and even more censorship, with the closure of a hundred websites, harassment to the media, investigations and charges against twitter users, teachers, illustrators and actors.
This publication you hold in your hands aims to be a global and courageous cry against these attacks using the pen as our only weapon, in the form of cartoons and thoughts, the cartoons contributed by over twenty satirical illustrators from around the world, many of them contributors to internationally renowned newspapers, as well as the written thoughts of over fifteen social and cultural activists.
Together we raise our voices to say no more repression, in Catalonia or elsewhere.