Chronicle of a referendum in Catalonia

By 9:30am on October 1, 2017, voting had just begun at the Sanllehy medical center in La Salut, a quiet neighborhood in the centre of Barcelona. A large crowd had gathered outside the polling station, eager to have their say in Catalonia’s historic independence referendum. The sky was overcast, the air was humid, and it was beginning to drizzle, but the atmosphere was electric; it was hard to believe that the big day had finally come.

Developed in collaboration with the European Free Alliance and published in both English and Catalan on Public Books, this visual essay chronicles the events leading up to October 1. But, in contrast to scenes of police brutality and stories of a bitter constitutional dispute reported in mainstream media, the photographs reveal colourful Estelada flags adorning balconies, defiant students occupying the Universitat de Barcelona and a communal street party in celebration of the referendum.

This visual essay explores the complexity and contradiction, the emotion and struggle, the hope and frustration of these tense few days in Catalonia’s capital.


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