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The Catalan vote: That escalated quickly

07 October, 2017, 00:47 | Author: Greg Wolfe
  • Rajoy says rule of law prevailed in Catalonia by blocking referendum

The autonomous Catalan government has called for worldwide mediation.

Pique also criticized Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy for the way the government and police dealt with Sunday's plans for a referendum, which was ruled illegal by the highest rung of Spain's judiciary, the Constitutional Court.

In response, King Felipe VI accused Catalan leaders of shattering democratic principles and dividing society.

The regional leader opened the door to a unilateral declaration of independence from Spain on Sunday after voters defied a violent police crackdown and, according to regional officials, voted 90 percent in favor of breaking away.

More than 800 people were injured after Spanish police stormed polling stations and tried to forcibly prevent people from voting, firing tear gas and physically attacking prospective voters.

Catalans announced a general strike Tuesday following police violence during a referendum on independence.

Several thousand people gatherered outside the regional headquarters of Spain's ruling Popular Party, chanting, "Occupiers out!", reports European news network The Local.

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The central government in Madrid said the vote, which had a 42 percent level of turnout, is illegal and contravenes the Spanish constitution. Puigdemont is seeking global mediation following the vote, saying he wants to reach an understanding with the Spanish government, and avoid a "traumatic break".

The Catalan President stopped short of declaring independence from Spain Monday - a move that would further deepen the crisis.

In the BBC interview, Catalonia's President Puigdemont said if the Spanish government were to intervene and take control of Catalonia's government, it would be "an error which changes everything".

King Felipe the sixth was addressing the nation following a day of protests in Barcelona.

Al Jazeera's Laurence Lee, reporting from Barcelona, said: "Many people are saying that the mandate, as they see it, of the referendum needs to be accepted and mirrored by the Catalan parliament".

A demonstrator holds up a ball during a protest against Spanish National Police officers outside their headquarters in Barcelona on October 2, 2017.

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