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Catalan-born reporter reveals family’s shock at police treatment

A Catalonia-born regional daily journalist has shared her family and friends’ experiences of the region’s violence-marred independence referendum.

More than 890 voters were injured after Spanish police moved to disperse voters and confiscate ballot boxes during Sunday’s referendum, which was held despite Spanish government opposition.

Estel Farell-Roig, a reporter for the South Wales Argus, was born in Barcelona, the region’s capital, and still has family and friends living there.

In a piece for the Newport-based Argus, she reported her own mother as saying the police response had reminded her of the dictatorship of General Franco.

Estel's friend Ida Abad casts her vote

Estel’s friend Ida Abad casts her vote

Estel’s mum Isabel Roig Perez said: “It was so emotional to cast my vote, there were so many doubts as if the referendum would go ahead.

“It was a historic day for Catalonia and it was beautiful to see everyone coming together. It was sad to see the police response. It reminds me of my youth during Franco’s time.”

Her friend Ida Abad added: “I feel proud of the Catalan people and our government,” she continued. There is so much hope that things will change.

“The repression and violence we received yesterday can’t be justified, especially in our modern society. I will never forget what people are capable of doing, both for the good and the bad.”