Parallels to the Catalan referendum crackdown?
October 1, 2017 5:20 AM   Subscribe

Have there been other situations like the one in Catalan right now, where one democratically elected government has sent in the police to violently suppress a referendum being held by a lower-level democratically elected government?
posted by clawsoon to Law & Government (4 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
The closest I can think of is the East Timor crisis in 1999, but even that's not a particularly good match. The Indonesian government at the time held the independence referendum, and only after the results came back "wrong" and paramilitary groups starting causing serious violence did they send in the troops. These same independent militias were also trying to suppress things before the vote, but there was no "official" action until after the vote.

Also, the central government of Indonesia wasn't really "democratic" at the time. The President of Indonesia at the time, B. J. Habibie, was the immediate successor of the anti-democratic Suharto regime; and while Habibie did hold elections fairly promptly after taking office (and was voted out of office in them), he himself wasn't democratically elected.
posted by Johnny Assay at 5:34 AM on October 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

The closest I can think of is the 1946 independence referendum in the Faroe Islands. I don't think there was any state violence but the Danish government declared the referendum null and void. I vaguely remember reading that the Danish navy sailed to the islands to demonstrate the state's military capabilities, but I think there was no violence as such.
posted by Kattullus at 11:40 AM on October 1, 2017 [2 favorites]

The War Between the States?
posted by TheRaven at 12:18 PM on October 1, 2017

You might want to look at this Wikipedia article of past independence referenda, sorting by the 'recognition' column. Good parallels to the current situation include the 1991 Kosovo independence referendum (followed by the Kosovo War) and the 1997 Anjouan independence referendum . In both those cases (as far as I can tell) though the local authorities had sufficient control to hold the referendum more or less successfully and peacefully, unlike the current situation in Catalonia.
posted by crazy with stars at 12:30 PM on October 1, 2017 [2 favorites]

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