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Catalan Parliament to declare independence following 'yes' victory, president says

At least 893 people were injured following Spanish police violent crackdown on voters

02 October 2017 01:49 AM

by

ACN | Barcelona

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Catalan Parliament will go ahead with plans to declare independence following a "yes" vote victory in the October 1 referendum, Catalan president Carles Puigdemont said on Sunday. The Catalan government thus doubles down on its challenge to the Spanish government, after a day of unprecedented, dramatic events. Spain's police violently cracked down on voters, leaving at least 893 injured.

Puigdemont, alongside the entire Catalan government, announced that “the right to be an independent state has been won.” He says the referendum will be communicated to the Catalan Parliament so that it can act according to the referendum legislation recently passed in the chamber, which states that independence will be unilaterally declared, should the "yes" vote win.

Indeed, the "yes" vote did win the referendum with 90% of votes, according to provisional figures given by the Catalan government. In total, 2,262,424 ballots were cast: 2.02 people voted "yes," and 176,566 voted no. There were also 45,586 blank votes and 20,129 null ballots.

  • “Spain has written a shameful page in its history with Catalonia today”

    Carles Puigdemont · Catalan president

At least 400 polling stations were shut down by the Spanish police and several ballot boxes full of votes were removed, according to the Catalan government spokesperson. None of these votes have been counted, as it is not clear how many were lost in total.

Criticising the abusive actions of the Spanish police, Puigdemont said: “Spain has written a shameful page in its history with Catalonia today.” Far too often, Puigdemont pointed out, “repression and violence have been the response of the State to Catalan aspirations.”

Police fulfilled their duty

Making clear his government does not recognize the vote, Spanish president Mariano Rajoy blamed Sunday's events on the Catalan government. "The Spanish National police and the Guardia Civil have fulfilled their duty and with justice on their said," he said. 

For Puigdemont, “the situation that has developed in Catalonia due to intransigence and repression, due to a total denial of reality, due to the hostility that comes from the democratic demands made by citizens of this country, is no longer an internal matter.”

An European matter

Indeed, it is a European matter as far as the Catalan president is concerned. "I make a direct appeal to Europe. We Catalans have won the right to be respected in Europe. The EU can no longer look the other way," Puigdemont said. "We are European citizens and our rights and freedoms are being violated."

Strike on Oct 3

As the Catalan government plans to go ahead with independence despite opposition from Spanish institutions, the political tension is likely to further escalate in the coming days.

Catalan pro-independence organizations called citizens to go on a general strike on October 3 to protest against the violent crackdown on the independence referendum.

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  • Voters in front of Spanish police (by Carles Palacio)
  • Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont (center), with his government (by Jordi Bedmar)