When a dozen local activists from the small Catalan seaside town of Arenys de Munt gathered to organise a symbolic referendum on independence from Spain a decade ago they had no idea what they were starting.
The year was 2009 and the tight-knit group gathered around a stone table in an old farmhouse wanted to find a way to make the point that, as Catalans, they felt no emotional or political attachment to the government in Madrid.
As they printed out the home-made referendum slips for the town’s population of 8,000 people ‘to have their say’, the activists never dreamt that they were lighting a touch-paper that would lead to the illegal region-wide referendum of 2017.
That 2017 vote – which …
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